The War on Moderation

It hasn't been that long, but a timely bump ...

While I have your attention, the Hartwigs have a seriously warped view about food.  You see, when someone creates a product they can sell on their site by dubbing it Whole30 Approved, the usual rules go out the window.
In addition, no Paleo-ifying dessert or junk food choices. Trying to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold will ruin your program faster than you can say, “Paleo pizza.”  This means no desserts or junk food made with “approved” ingredients—no coconut-flour pancakes, almond-flour muffins, flourless brownies, or coconut milk ice cream. Don’t try to replicate junk food during your 30 days! That misses the point of the Whole30 entirely.
Unless we can make money selling it as W30 compliant.  Boggles the mind.

Original Publish Date:  8/14/13

Recently in a Facebook Ad, the Whole9/Whole30 couple, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, linked to the following post:  PLEASE STOP SAYING EVERYTHING IN MODERATION (all caps preserved).  Because of a ton of information and thoughts on this topic and recent Facebook posts from Melissa, I read that piece and just couldn't help but comment.  
NO food can possibly be as unhealthy as perpetuating this EATING DISORDER. This article reads like some sick mix of pro-ana and religious cult.
Reading that on Beth/Weight Maven's blog , I must admit it sounds rather hyperbolic.  So I'd like to flesh out the context.  For starters, the Whole30 is a program of 30 days of uber strict "clean paleo" eating:  no grains, legumes, dairy, sugar/sweeteners.  They wrote a book about it, It Starts With Food (which I personally can't recommend more strongly against).  In Chapter 1 [Kindle locations 151-154]  of that book they write:

We have a theory about food that directly influences the rest of this book. 
The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options. 
There is no food neutral; there is no food Switzerland— every single thing you put in your mouth is either making you more healthy or less healthy.
Later they write:
So, how did we come up with our dietary recommendations? We combined scientific research with clinical experience. We have scientific studies to back up our recommendations. We have years of experience and documented Whole30 results to confirm that we’re on the right track. It’s the best of both worlds— the academic evidence and the boots-on-the-ground experience that comes from working with thousands of people and getting amazing results. Win-win.  [KL 300-304]
I have preserved their emphasis.  Their 30 days is modeled around the 30 Days from Robb Wolf's book which should raise a red flag in anybody's mind.  He can't even give a straight answer as to what paleo is any more.  The Hartwigs also cite Cordain who still promotes lean meats, but used to yet no longer promotes canola oil.  Which begs the basic questions:  What is healthy?  I don't see how anyone can even theorize that certain foods either make you more or less healthy when that term has such a nebulous definition and can surely mean different things to different people at different times.  To use an extreme example, sugary dairy is often part of the nutrient mix given to very ill people because of assimilation and it makes them healthier.  I also would love to see this scientific research about no neutral foods.  It's an absurd concept, and that mindset is ripe for eating disordered behavior.

But go along for the ride many do ...

So, a little while back, the Whole9/30 duo started a Dear Melissa advice column.  In the first installment there was a question from a "100% or nothing kind of guy".  The strict W30 works well when he's on the plan, but after the 30 (or he asdded 45 or 60) days are over,  he "falls off a cliff" ...
I go from 100% compliant with the Whole30 to elbow deep in a bag of chocolate chip cookies faster than you can say “Mister Christie.”
He goes on to explain that this is an issue in his marriage.  
My wife cannot understand the all-or-nothing rigidity that I have to put on my life to be successful. She would love for me to just “eat in moderation” but I have no success with “moderate” at all.
He has apparently read the advice of the Hartwigs several times
I have read and re-read the transition chapter in It Starts With Food and I have planned to follow the transition to a T, but when I open the door a crack, I have significant transition issues. For so many reasons, I feel like eating 100% W30 for the rest of my life but this may cause life issues (wife, family, friends, travel, etc.) but when I moderate… I forget the “moder” and just eat!
Melissa responds:
Let me tell you a little secret—just about nobody does well with “moderation.” It’s a bullcrap concept, to be honest, created by diet gurus who sell tons of books by telling people what they want to hear—that they can still eat all the junky foods they want, as long as it’s in “moderation.” (What does that even mean? Eat just one cookie a day? Or eat as many cookies as you want, as long as it’s only once a week? Or eat 7 cookies a day, as long as you only take one bite per hour? You see my point…) The truth is (and habit research shows) that most people do far better with a black-and-white goal. That’s why the Whole30 works so well for you—you know exactly what is expected of you, there is no grey area. 
Look, if you don't like to use the current US population as an example, go to France or go hang out with some old people or talk to your grandparents if they are still alive and watch some old movies.  The VAST majority of people do/did well with moderation.  I've been on this kick for a while, but look at those centenarians like George Burns lived to be, or even this cute couple (who are only in their 90's) that eats pancakes every day.  Seriously, what IS health to these people?  

The diet and fitness industry is a mess.  There are good guys (gender nonspecific sense) out there, but they are few and very far between the profiteers and scammers.  The paleo crossfitter and low carb slow burner types like to portray themselves as "different" from the mainstream scads.  Sorry, most are not.  Many are even worse because they couch their schemes as scientific when they are really not.

OK, back to the Dear Melissa advice.  Over on Facebook, they wrote: "As for Riot's comment, ever heard of The Zone? Moderation at its finest. Remember when Sears told boxer Evander Holyfield he could still eat at McDonalds, as long as he only ate five fries? Yeah, that's great advice. Then again, he's sold a bazillion more books than us."    Huh?  The Zone??   

Full disclosure:  Never tried that diet, but I considered it at one time.  Here's a Cliff Notes version.   Basically the macros are P/F/C = 30/30/40, thus it is lower carb than the USDA dietary recs but not a low carb diet.  Lowish fat.   Those macro ratios should be met in each meal or snack which is what makes compliance difficult.  In order to simplify that there's a block system where 1 block is C = 9g, P = 7g, F = 1.5g  ... dieters figure out their total blocks and break them down.  Sears believes large meals promote inflammation so Zone tends to be one of those eat 5-6 times a day plans.  He's pretty adamant that the macro ratios must be kept for each time you eat, and weighing/measuring is part of the deal.  However, I never got the impression that this had to be nit-picky exact and surely someone can get the hang of it and eyeball and such.  One of the reasons we hear about Zone in this general community is because it is the original diet promoted by Crossfit.  See:  Crossfit Journal Zone Meal Plans.    Here are a few excerpts:

[General recommendations are adequate ...] but more accurate and precise prescription is necessary to optimize physical performance. 
... Diet is critical to optimizing human function and our clinical experience leads us to believe that Barry Sears’ “Zone Diet” closely models optimal nutrition. 
CrossFit’s best performers are Zone eaters. When our second tier athletes commit to “strict” adherence to the Zone parameters they generally become top tier performers quickly.
Melissa apparently developed an eating disorder eating a CrossFit version of neurotic Zone, but blames that diet per se for problems with moderation.  I found this out because a link to Zone Gone Bad landed in my Inbox from someone who saw my FB comment questioning the 5 french fry thing.   That article was written in 2009 before Byers became Hartwig.   Interestingly, it begins quite similarly to an article written in early 2012 The Whole30 Gone Bad.  A recanting of her sister becoming obsessive on the Zone.   We'll get to that in a moment, but for now:
Her experience mirrors that of many Whole9 readers, with our Whole30 program.
For those with a history of disordered eating, food addictions or other dependencies, the Whole30 may prove more stressful than helpful. Something that starts off as healthy and balanced slides into dangerous territory, where diet defines you, food is the enemy and self-worth comes straight out of your refrigerator. ...
... Many readers of this site have at one time or another had body image issues, disordered eating behaviors or flirtations with harmful eating habits. Often, these habits are born out of an inherently healthy desire to feel and look better—to become more fit, or leaner, or more muscular. Some people just go about approaching this healthy quest in an unhealthy way, and unfortunately, ingrained, unhealthy behaviors can rise again when someone with a history of disordered eating or other addictions takes on a super-strict program like the Whole30.
For many of you, whether you have a history with “real” eating disorders or simply have had issues with food, diet is a sensitive subject. Old habits are hard to forget, and some of those habits may play a role in your Whole30 experience. ... {emphasis from article}
Now I guess they are none too happy that I posted the great comment at right on my FB page and have been a bit on the case of these restrictive regimes such as with this tweet.

In the run-up to the latest group Whole30 challenge that began on August 1, do the Hartwigs warn their followers to be careful?  That restriction may not be a good approach for them.  Of course not.  But I'm going to call foul on their response to my comment (stole/hot linking Beth's image)

You are apparently too busy to give a damn about those with eating disorders, but please, don't listen to the "cohort" warning you about us.  How about you put your own warnings front and center?!  No, that might lose a few book sales in exchange for providing responsible advice.

Now back to Zone and such.  You see both "gone bad" articles begin with the story about Melissa's sister.  What is missing is that in 2009, Melissa related the story of how "The Zone" went bad for her.
Her experience mirrored my own. When I first started with CrossFit and the Zone in December 2007, I enjoyed the precision of weighing, measuring, and tracking my intake. There was no guessing or estimating; the plan was well outlined and easy to follow. And I saw positive results quickly. My energy was better, my workouts were strong and I was continuing to build muscle. But unlike Kelly, I do have a history of unhealthy eating behaviors, and those behaviors began to rear their ugly head just a few weeks into my Zone experience. Slowly, my brain began to take the healthy activities associated with the Zone diet and twist them back into my prior disordered behaviors. I stopped eating anything unless I could measure it. I spent hours on FitDay (a free online diet and fitness journal), plugging in different food choices to arrive at the perfect balance of ratios. I began to obsess over my body composition, spending far too much time in the mirror. Food began to rule my life, and before I knew it, what had started as Zone had morphed into a Zone-inspired eating disorder.
And then as I read the Whole30 Gone Bad I started having de ja vu.  This all started to sound familiar.  I've made a little table for you.   

Red emphasis mine, all other emphasis Melissa's

You see, Melissa didn't forget about the article she wrote previously, she just tweaked it a bit, left out her personal issues and attributed the same words to "you" and "others"  and changing the source of self worth.   Gone is the admission of her personal experience with the whole deal.  

This is dishonest any way you cut it, and I'm calling you on it Melissa.   Especially when now you lash out at those of us who point out that restrictive programs are likely not the best for people with a history of eating disorders.  First of all, YOU HAD AN EATING DISORDER MELISSA HARTWIG.  Not "two steps away",  but full blown eating disorder.  Just because you didn't stick your finger down your throat, or exercise excessively (I presume) or restrict so severely that you were technically anorexic doesn't mean you didn't have an ED.  You had one.  I know, because I had one too and the behavior you described in the Zone Gone Bad article is *classic* ED behavior even if the chart wouldn't have been stamped with anorexia or bulimia.  

Further, I do not know what sort of ED behavior you may have exhibited prior to the Zone, but you yourself say your sister had NO history of this.  And yet Zone "caused" her ED.   Do you see the cautionary tale here?  Not even just a little?  People with a history of ED should stay the frig away from plans like Whole30, and those who do not should still go in (if they must) with eyes wide open because as Kelly showed, it is that damned easy for things to turn south.  For me it started with a calorie restricted diet.  Yours may not be calorie restricted but it is WAY MORE restrictive in every other imaginable way.  Do you remember when your relationship with food got broken?  Do you consider it fixed?  Where is the warning?  Let us change your life?  Do you have any, A.N.Y. , sense of responsibility for those who might have gone down this path because of your program?  How about Crystal Fieldhouse??   (Minor Update:  As of 11/30/13, there has been zero update on Crystal's condition.  There are two recent posts.  One is for a 6 Week Sugar Detox.  Sigh.  Meanwhile she is still promoting paleo under the banner of "Primal Shift".  Unconscionable really.)

What was so interesting, was that the first comment on my FB page in response to my comment was:
So... eating whatever the heck you want, whenever you want, is healthy as well? I'm not completely on-board with this article, but I've done a Whole 30 and it made a TREMENDOUS difference in how I felt and looked. I lost 7 pounds, and several inches. I'm planning on doing another one in September, because when I quit following Paleo guidelines, and started eating sugar and carbs again, I gained everything back plus more. Just because you don't agree with Paleo diets or the Whole 30 doesn't make it an eating disorder. Also, I'm curious what your background in nutrition is? Do you have one? Or are you just a contentious carb-lover who doesn't like to be told what to do?
How interesting.  Lost weight and started eating the "bad stuff" again and gained it back and then some.   About that paleo thing ... restrictive programs that last a certain number of days are at their very core so unpaleo.   We know this because hunter gatherers are opportunistic folks.  They hunt and gather and EAT what they can.  Which doesn't mean a dozen donuts is the way to go, but does kinda make the random rules of restriction for things like white potatoes or rice seem awfully silly.  

Thanks commenter.  You made my point.

So that was then, and now?  

Here's the Whole30 Program from their website.  
Since April 2009, tens of thousands of people have successfully completed our Whole30 program with amazing results. Here are the official program “rules,” and a few resources to help you maximize your Whole30 results.
That says version 2012.  Is there a link to Whole30 Gone Bad?  Cautions to those with previous ED?  Any attempt to steer people who might be getting themselves into trouble towards real professional help and away from a program that is harming them?    No.  This program is marketed to those who have eating disorders, because what else is changing how you view food?  Ahh but the stunning testimonials, those you link to.    At some point the magic happens.  Just like for Crystal, right?

But while your Moderation post included words like "believe" and "eat as little as you can", the W30 post gets even worse in the end.  It is full, as most of your writings are, of language that screams eating disorder and religiosity.  It's for your own good, tough love -- or you'll never get to the life changing stuff, it's not hard (but sugar is like alcohol, but don't you go whining until you talk to a real addict ... ummmm), you must be perfect don't even consider slipping, at your best friend's wedding you DON'T need to eat that cake!!!   I'll let others read that for themselves.

All of which wouldn't be quite as maddening were it not for yucking it up with Robb Wolf over eating a lot of ice cream (paleo of course, agave syrup is one step away from the tequila Robb and Amy Kubal never cease to tweet back and forth about) while the next you are confessing to obsessing over a cupcake on FB.  

What is this psychological impact of which you speak?  I read about these psychologically damaging foods in your materials.  Do refried beans damage your brain?  How about corn on the cob?  Seriously, a bowl of oatmeal with cream and honey?  Dare I ask what psychological impact a banana split might have on a person...

Sorry but as someone who could have written that above post decades ago, I think I have a little insight here and its your thinking that causes the impact, not the food.  Thinking that is surely more anxiety-ridden by looking at certain foods as "unhealthy" and therefore going to harm your body.   Thinking that imparts powers on foods that they most certainly do not possess.

Eating in moderation is about fixing your attitude about food.  It has nothing really to do with what foods you ultimately eat or don't eat.  Stop hiding behind the ruse of food allergies and autoimmune diseases, etc.  NOBODY IS SAYING THAT ANYONE HAS TO EAT ANY PARTICULAR FOOD.   The concept of all things in moderation simply means you can have anything (that is not truly harmful to your body) .   Stop with the strawmen that people lay around eating ice cream morning noon and night.  That's the moderation part.  Its mindful eating, not obsessive cupcake fears and fits.  It's knowing that you can have ice cream again tomorrow if you want it so you don't need to finish the whole gallon today.  It's finding that you don't want the ice cream after all sometimes.  

Now I know my critics are snickering with their usual she's fat and Melissa's thin .. so there!  Here's news for you.  Most people with eating disorders suffer for decades and never get overweight.  Many are underweight.  Some DIE.  Their teeth rot, their hair falls out, their skin gets bad, their digestive systems no longer process food properly.  A seriously high percent of people in Hollywood and the modeling and fitness industries suffer from eating disorders.  And a whole lot of youngsters.  They can be so awful I wouldn't wish one on my worst enemy.  And it is FRIGHTENING just how easily it starts.  If I had a daughter I would be in agony when the day came she went on a diet.  Seriously because that's really all that happened for me.  A little pudge with puberty so some body image issues, a diet, some success, more diet, more success, ... I estimate I went from normal relationship with food to full blown disordered in no more than three months.  And it didn't begin nearly as restrictive as this Whole30.

This is serious stuff, and this used car salesman schtick is not so cute if you buy a car with the brakes out and end up dying in a crash.    And you know what?  Oddly enough, most of the obese DON'T have eating disorders, though many like myself became that way when our bodies were stronger than our minds.    I'll share more thoughts in the coming weeks, but I did want to say a few words here.  

In conclusion...  

The Whole30.  Why?  Don't do it.  Please.  If you must try it once and it sticks, good for you.  If you're genuinely happy with a restrictive lifestyle that doesn't interfere with your enjoyment of friends and family members and other social interactions.  Go for it.  

But there are those who are starting their 2nd, 5th, 10th or more(??) W30.  That is a clue.  This is yo yo dieting and its just an eating disorder disguised in doing something "healthy".  Don't kid yourself.

If you suspect you have a food allergy or intolerance, go on a proper elimination diet and/or get tested.  If you have a lactose issue, you'll never know by cutting everything out of your diet and getting sick when you binge on cheesecake on day 31.  If you are not intolerant, then there is no reason to avoid these foods entirely.  

If you want to clean up your diet?  Do it.  Eat more foods prepared at home.  Fresh, real, whole foods.  When your base diet is a good one for you, there is room for the rest.  All of it.  In moderation.  And just think of all the mental energy you'll have left over for other stuff, or just to enjoy some food.  It's not a sin you know.


Alexander said…
because something is natural doesn't mean it's safe or healthy, and
just because something is artificial doesn't mean it's unhealthy or
dangerous. Look around you. Nothing we buy is natural. Everything useful
is designed and manufactured, and food should be no different. People
are afraid of sweeteners when it's real sugar that's killing us. They're
afraid of preservatives when food waste is rampant. McDonald's is
trying to engineer lower-calorie food that is more filling to fight
obesity, but people are demanding natural-sounding ingredients. It's
frustrating to watch. The idea of "real food" is just snobbery. Everyone
has the right to be healthy, even people who don't like vegetables." -
Rob Rhinehart

A nice quote that reflects nicely on how religiously some people treat food and that evaluation is ALWAYS in order to note whether something is working for a specifric purpose or not.
carbsane said…
I especially dislike how the paleos label things like grains as not real foods, or not fit for human consumption.

The idea that just because some people are sensitive to things doesn't fly with me either. Even if 10% of the population were gluten intolerant (and <1% is a generous estimate for celiac) this wouldn't make gluten a bad food for the vast majority. I would note that while Whole30 eliminates the usual paleo suspects of grains, legumes and dairy, it includes such things as eggs, seafood and fruit. The prevalence of seafood allergies is pretty high compared to most, some have issues with eggs and it's not a lot, but fructose malabsorption can make fruit a problem for some.

I don't know that I'd go so far as to say "real food" is snobbery, but I get his point.
Alexander said…
As I have pointed out, I don't think one should take some of the things he says 100% literally but since all of these "religion"-like, sometimes "holier than thou" ideologies about medicine, food and other issues are not really anything small anymore I think he does have a very fair point. What a lot of people of certain ideologies tout as "real food" is mostly infinitely relative - I mean you have seen the exact same thing with Paleo. Even within the paleo community they can't really agree what it actually means.

I think the same is applicable to "real food", the problem here being mostly the definition delivered. I mean, strictly speaking no food can NOT be "real food". It is, after all - food - designed/enhanced/manipulated with the specific purpose in mind to be used by humans as fuel. But in this case I think it's the same issue as in music scenes, "real hip hop", "true metal" - none of these things have any factual standing. It's just a meaningless differentiaton based on a highly subjective concept tryign to be objective.

But I agree that I don't get the generalization of food intolerances or allergies. I have an egg yolk allergy that almost killed me when I was kid - I still have digestion problems with eggs unless they have been cooked for at least 30 minutes but I don't go around claiming that everyone else must have the same problem. Even with dairy the idea is pretty much off for a large chunk of the Western population as the lactose intolerance rates affect mainly Asians and Africans and even if it wouldn't: it still wouldn't make sense in the broader sense as the lactose content of cheese for example is pretty low compared to milk and there is quite an array of cheese who doesn't even contain any lactose.
Adam said…
I also think the case that food requires specification adaptation to consume is overblown. I think it is more likely the case that most foods can be tolerated in a range of dosages and that foods such as grains, legumes and dairy were initially adopted in small amounts. The adaptations to higher dosages came with time.

The story of paleo man getting sick when switching to agriculture due to grains/legumes/dairy is not very convincing. I personally think shorter stature/health problems came from a combination of malnutrition (lack of food) and higher disease load due increased population density.

I think disease load in particular is the most convincing. In Newfoundland the Moose here are massive. I've heard the reason is due to a lack of parasites and less diseases that target the moose here. I imagine going from hunter-gatherer population densities to agricultural densities would have the opposite effect.
carbsane said…
Speaking of shorter stature, many modern HG's eating "paleo diets" are quite diminutive compared to Westerners. Which kinda puts the kibosh on any of these diets lauding large meals of any sort.
Bob said…
This is great stuff Evelyn. Thank you so much. Keep it up.
LWC said…
Isn't Emily Deans speaking about orthorexia at the Ancestral Health Society? She has written positively about doing a Whole30 in the past I believe. Will you be able to attend her talk? It will be interesting how she will balance the evidence against plans such as the Whole30 with her own favorable opinion of them.
If her blog post is indicative of her talk, it looks like she'll take an "it depends" approach:
Alexander said…
From what I've gathered and a good friend of mine, ongoing medicine student has told me there is actually quite some evidence that would suggest that our "modern diets" actually have quite a correlation with people getting larger.

But I've never understood how someone connects size with health, fitness or strength. There are apes out there who are most certainly smaller than most humans but they are sure as hell stronger than most of us.
carbsane said…
Somehow I don't think she'll be objective on this.
hughdaddy said…
I remember shaking my head years ago (circa 2009) when I first came across her website Urban Goes Diesel, where much of this was born. After awhile the Whole30 approach & its unrelenting drive towards dietary purity is specifically what drove me away from Paleo.

I would be interested to see how Melissa would respond to the psychological literature on restrained eating, which dates back to the 60s. The research of Herman & Polivy would be a good place to start. Several studies demonstrate that restrained eaters cannot handle moderation with "forbidden" foods whereas unrestrained eaters have no issues with moderation. Funny how Melissa preaches so strongly against moderation. Her stance on no neutral foods is also the very essence of restrained eating, an absolutely classic example.

The other issue at play here is that people who fail on their approach are less likely to come forward out of shame, guilt, and embarrassment that they are failures. By the Type A "MAN UP!" tough love language and attitudes the Whole30 crew take, they scare away the failures & shelter themselves from the psychological damage they are inflicting. I don't doubt their good intentions or that they are good people, but the expression "God save us from our good intentions" rings loud in my ears.
liberrocky said…
"Their 30 days is modeled around the 30 Days from Robb Wolf's book
which should raise a red flag in anybody's mind. He can't even give a
straight answer as to what paleo is any more."

Really it is unfair and antithetical to the good science to criticize anyone for having stances that evolve in light of new evidence, especially when they readily admit they were wrong.

How is punishing people for changing their minds a good thing?
In my mind it encourages the kind of dogmatism you claim to be fighting.

It takes guts for one to admit they were wrong and that should be celebrated not vilified.

Attributed to Keynes - "When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir"
carbsane said…
Thanks for sharing this!

In my late teens and 20's I was a "bulimic" -- mostly binge then fast/super restrict. Fasting was easier than eating only a little bit. Even if I broke a fast with a salad sometimes I could not stop myself. This was behavior brought on by restriction. In those days there was no eating a few cookies, a slice of cake or a small bowl of ice cream -- I ate the whole box, cake, carton.

I am speaking up about these things because I am tired of seeing these socially accepted eating disorders being presented as healthy. What I have said, that has gotten me in trouble with the X# Day Challenge crowd is that they are not a good idea to begin with, but certainly if you are going on your 3rd or more, it is not working for you. The whole fool me once ... thing.

When I made a comment on Melissa's FB page about french fries and Zone, my Inbox lit up. These two aren't even consistent as evidenced by joking with Robb how the "OK by them even if not paleo" ice cream should only be measured in liters. I don't think more than a day or two goes by without Robb or Amy Kubal tweeting about tequila ... what's that about?

The behaviors, the rationalizations, the coping mechanisms -- so many straight out of the ED playbooks. I'm quite disappointed to see Emily Deans' endorsement .... gives me little hope for any book she might write on the topic that she doesn't see this problem here.
carbsane said…
You've got to keep up better, Robb hasn't even admitted to changing his mind. Indeed his first comment on this blog stated that he hadn't.

It would be antithetical to good science to do what you are accusing me of, but that didn't happen. Robb hasn't changed his mind based on new evidence. Any "new evidence" that may have altered his beliefs is old stuff, and the new evidence from the real anthropologists is brushed away and never seems to inform these guys' opinions.

In Robb's case its "When my information changes because of something that I should have known comes to light and makes me look foolish, I alter my behavior and blame my readers while giving wishywashy clarifications. When the information changes because there's new scientific evidence to ponder, I reach for a NorCal".
carbsane said…
PS I'm glad you came over and posted this here. I thought you were talking about Melissa changing her mind about something.
Trina said…
Gee ... that post from Crystal Fieldhouse was heartbreaking.
Interesting comment on the whole. Although you've lost me at 'grains *cause* leaky gut". Perhaps I misunderstood the overall context of the statement. However, if that is something that you've find to be fact, then I would greatly appreciate some links or references.

I am very interested in this topic and from what I've understood through the massive smoke screen of confusion and broscience masking the facts of the matter, is that grains aren't always good for those who have leaky guts. Now whether they actually cause the problem in the first place--wheat being a special exception for only a sub-set of the populace--still comes across as speculation.
Scontch Blosward said…
These Whole 30 "gurus" would never, ever concede that they might not be 100% correct in their approach. Let them age a bit and grow up..... they might turn out okay. They may some day come to understand how badly their approach can be damaging in the long run. It's just too bad that people will have to suffer along the way until they hopefully scrap their approach.
River Rance said…
Kinda creepy, this couple. Hucksters? Well, it is starting to feel and smell like they could be the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of online nutrition and poor health advice.

Melissa Hartwig is a candidate for a Master of Science in Health and Nutrition from none other than Hawthorne University(internet diploma mill). Andrews University for him? Seventh-day Adventist influenced?

But, they are both kettle bell certified instructors. So they have something to fall back on.
carbsane said…
Complete with sinning when it fits their definition. :)
carbsane said…
I know. I have asked around if anyone has heard from her. Not that I have many connections in that area, but still nothing. I really hope she's OK.
liberrocky said…
"Robb hasn't even admitted to changing his mind. Indeed his first comment on this blog stated that he hadn't."

I am not familiar with this comment, but I am familiar with Robb changing his mind.

I submit this from Robb's Paleo Solution Podcast 170 (

"There are some serious dicks out in the
interwebs that do not a fucking thing other than snipe from the
peanut gallery. They’ve never generated anything. They’ve never
created a manifesto and said this is what I believe. You know sitting
down and actually putting together even if it’s just a long e book or
something like that it’s fairly involved.

And at the end of the day you’ll probably going to end up making a couple of mistakes or some of the assumptions that you’ve made are going to become out of date and is going to require some updating

You know if we get better information then I reserve the right to
change my opinion on stuff and that all seems pretty reasonable.
But there are some people that are just fucking dicks."

I listen to Robb's podcast every week and he is rarely dogmatic (he is decidedly anti-gluten) and ever open to changing his mind, whether it be about vitamin-D (as that podcast was),or omega-3's or carbs or dairy.

Finally can you give me an example of this behavior:
"When "my information" changes because something that I should have known comes to light and makes me look foolish, I alter my behavior and blame my readers while giving wishywashy clarifications. When *the* information changes because there's new scientific evidence to ponder, I reach for a NorCal"
Sean Flanagan said…
"True metal" is a meaningless subjective term...unless we're talking about Manowar of course. That's verifiable truth right there.
hmavros said…
Nice point about the retrained eating literature.

I think a lot of the problems dieters get into boils down to this: they don't actually know what they should be shooting for in the long term, and even if they do, they often don't plan their approach with reference to that long-term goal.

Instead, they (and I include my younger self in this) embark on an overly restrictive race to a six-pack/bikini body/rapid 20lbs weight loss etc., and thereby invite disordered eating in the front door.

If, from the outset, the long-term goal is more richly drawn (i.e. "I want to sustain a healthy, attractive body composition over the lifespan, while not obsessing about food, while eating an enjoyable and wide-ranging diet, and while enjoying food as part of normal social life"), then the road to disordered eating is less likely to be taken.

Instead, the goal is essentially to embrace the behaviours of 'naturally slim' people, not dieters that are 'hanging on by their nails', or employing some extreme dietary contrivance to keep the pounds at bay. And, to do so, moderation must be the gold standard, the guiding principle against which long-term plans are designed and judged.
Alexander said…
Yeah, I was just using it as reference because I found it to be on an eerily similar level. Also: agreed.
Alexander said…
I'm sorry you apparently misunderstood my comment, I was being rather facetious/sarcastic as my statement about the German food culture having grains as an integral part would imply, I was pretty much being satirical of the whole paleo attitude towards grains.
I eat grains on a regular basis myself and have never had problems with them regardless of level of refinery.
Lighthouse Keeper said…
Long live grains in Germany. I am looking forward already to the return of the Christkindlmarkt this christmas to the city of Leeds in the U.K. Very good bratwurst sausage ( in crusty white bread rolls ) and excellent wheat beer - been visiting and over indulging there for twelve years to no ill effect. What a shame the paleo visitor can only have the naked sausage and hope they sell tequila..... or risk leaky gut syndrome.
Scott Peterson said…
Dude, even if you feel okay eating teh grainz they are slowly killing you from the inside! (sarcasm)

I am curious to see if this is this last straw that will break for many former Paleos. For example, Free the Animal has embraced starch and milk, but he probably still holds out on grains. The other day he lambasted Dr. Gupta for finally realizing that marijuana is not a highly dangerous drug. Will he one day come to the same realization about grains?
carbsane said…
The thing with the Whole30 Gone Bad post is that Melissa *knows* it can be damaging. "Others" have had the same thing happen as happened to her doing The Zone (Crossfit style).
Alexander said…
Just like England was built on tea and Ireland on potatoes this country was built on baked goods. While I don't like wheat beer I'll give ya a hell yeah for a good sasusage in white bread. Especially those christmas markets have the good stuff.
But this also makes me wonder, how do paleos view alcohol? I don't think I've read a lot of people condemn whiskey, rum and beer for involving grains in their production.
Looks like she's still active in a (modified?) paleo diet. She's podcasting here at and posting at
carbsane said…
His peanut gallery schtick is wearing thin.

On the other hand, it's his manifesto that is problematic because a lot of what Robb Wolf says he just makes up. Then he doesn't stick by it (good) yet blames others if they call him on it (bad).

Robb was a binge eater too :D


Posted 1-16-2008 by: David Fuhrer
I have extreme sugar sensitivities (recovering sugar addict) that prevent me from eating any real quantity of starches, simple sugars, and even fructose. you might imagine....Paleo is PERFECT!

That said...after a month or so of severely restricting carbs and still doing quality (high intensity) workouts my body seems to tell me to do a carb replenishment. The thing is....when I try to do it with traditional carb dense sources (whole grain bread, pumpkin, tubers)....the all too familiar trigger from my sugar addiction days goes off ain't pretty. Binging on carbs up to the point of a 10k calorie day is not uncommon (really)....and along with it comes the incredibly rotten feelings and additional cravings for days afterward.

Can you recommend a carb source that might work well for a once a month replenishment of glycogen but is less likely to "throw the trigger"?

Response by Robb Wolf
I had this issue for years and it is why I gravitated towards a cyclic low carb diet. I wrote a piece for the Performance Menu: 42 ways to skin the Zone. Essentially you shift a bit of carbs to a post workout meal. Start small ans slowly titrate up (say 2-4 blocks of yam at first, then see how you do). Then use intermediate vegetable sources like asparagus, avocado, tomato etc. for the rest of your meals. They are carbier than spinach but not as dense as fruit. Increase your fat a bit if you can not get in all your carb blocks. Take your fish oil 2-10g/day.


As to the NorCals, you are on Twitter right? #tequila
Ah. No problem. My bad for not going with my instincts on the obvious. It's just that over the last 24 hours, I've read at least five misguided posts where some believe that the grains--non-wheat variety--ruined their lives from their gut health to their weight.
carbsane said…
There are many in my generation that are taller than our parents and extended family. That's because my parents' generation grew up during WWII and raising us was focused on getting calories into "growing kids" and buying nourishing foods. This meant *the poor* also bought nourishing foods which left little for junk.
carbsane said…
That's interesting about Germans. My heritage is mostly German and Mom spent several years of her youth in Germany. We weren't much of a bread eating family, though we did probably have a couple of slices, 3-4 days/wk.

I think it was Kurt Harris, though many others have said similar. Leaky gut is not the fault of the grains it is something causing it and therefore eliminating grains is a bandaid of sorts. I tend to think NSAIDs play a bigger role than is often talked about there. The widespread OTC use of these is relatively recent.
carbsane said…
Instead, the goal is essentially to embrace the behaviours of 'naturally slim' people, not dieters that are 'hanging on by their nails', or employing some extreme dietary contrivance to keep the pounds at bay.

Nail. Head.
Alexander said…
Well, it depends I guess. I live in Southwestern Germany and here it definitely is one of the most common staples, I mean I don't eat as much bread as I used to simply because I've gotten extremely used to cooking regularly.

Uhm, I'm not entirely getting that phrase "not the fault of the grains it is something causing it and" because it sounds kind of contradictory.
Also, NSAIDs?
carbsane said…
I wonder if Emily attended
Sue Staltari said…
Which post?
Sue Staltari said…
I remember it now. Is she still paleo or made changes?
carbsane said…
Her “Dear Paleo, it’s not you, it’s me…” post is the most recent (last) post on her blog. I don't see much of any activity on FB either. The sad gist of that post, despite her litany of ills and issues is that she didn't seem to see that paleo (her low carb version) may just have been "it" or the trigger after all.
Sue Staltari said…
Not the sugar detox part but quoting Kaleo a good sign?
Nigel Kinbrum said…
Doing Crossfit burns a lot of carbs. Some starchy veg & quinoa doesn't provide enough carbs to fuel it :-(
Sanjeev Sharma said…
Every time I read diet advice these days I kick myself for falling
for the BS for so long and wish I had found and stuck with Lyle when he
started writing, adding Alan, James (Krieger and Hale) when they came

(this will sound like an ad but so be it)
Lyle frequetly writes that his most important book is "flexible dieting" ... the title says it all, really ... flexible; dogma-free, free of anality, dogma ... free of everything bad about almost everything else that's bad about the majority of the diet world.
Sanjeev Sharma said…
burns carbs? ... how about burning muscle[0] ...

and IMHO CF also induces ... let's call it "neural rhabdomyolysis" in the brain, but slower than standard rhabdo ... the longer one does it the worse it gets

[0] don't know if burning is the right word ... how about liquefying?
Nigel Kinbrum said…
Once glycogen has run out, yup. Sky-high stress hormone levels & bye-bye muscle mass. Bad times, indeed.
Lighthouse Keeper said…
Good point about alcohol and paleo, something of a blind spot since it is rarely mentioned. Did pre agricultural man have a ready supply of alcohol available? Speculation has it that they may have carried some kind of animal skin sack filled with decaying fermenting fruit around with them for that purpose, wishful thinking perhaps for those trying to shoehorn regular alcohol consumption into the paleo "template". Grain based alcohol however must surely be declared verboten.
Nigel Kinbrum said…
Is sourdough rye bread still popular in Germany? I gather that rye bread has benefits RE blood glucose control, which may have benefits RE appetite control. See
The Hartwigs are kind and caring people that have devoted their lives to helping others. You seem to devote a lot of time to bashing others. What is this axe you grind? You seriously sound like the disordered one. But it's amusing so keep flying your crazy flag.
carbsane said…
You are of course entitled to your opinion. I always find it interesting that people who do this sort of thing for a living are viewed as doing great works of charity though.
carbsane said…
Yes, the quoting GK. This sort of thing really bothers me though. She left folks pretty much hanging with that last blog post that was rather a cry for help and/or an act of desperation. I do not get, and will never get, continuing to evangelize for a diet that has "gone bad" for a person.
Johnny Mal said…
Melissa has personally called me to check in on me. She has hugged me when she met me. She has written me mulitple times and helped me through extremely difficult times in health and life. She has been a friend and when I first met her she did not even bring up the whole30 or her business...she talked to me about my life and the reasons I was seeking change. There are real genuine people behind that business that are putting love and positivity into the universe. What are you putting into the universe? Sorry...I shouldn't get involved I'm just baffled by the animosity. I know you mean well but what's that adage about bees and honey?
carbsane said…
My blog is not my life OK? Should I have all the people in my life write testimonials to where I've gone out of my way for them on the internet?

Last year a man I knew to be a total asshole to his family for the past decade or so passed away. I came across a tribute written by a man in his business. "An all around great guy" ... No, he wasn't.
I am not speaking to them as people. I don't know them. They seem lovely though come off a bit fake to me. Just an observation. There are a ton of people being harmed by these "detoxes" and "challenges" and especially their unfounded pseudoscience on food either being more or less healthful, no in between. And I'm sorry but Melissa is not being genuine writing that Whole30 Gone Bad article. Plain as day. Have a nice one!
merider said…
I just stumbled on your blog. I can't stop shaking my head. I'm a former binge eater, have been in treatment several times in my life, so I know a little about having a full blown ED. The last thing anyone should fear is the Whole30 as it will not cause or worsen an eating disorder. If you have an ED and do not seek treatment, ANY diet won't work for you, but one with whole foods is not going to trigger the ED behavior. I have never binged on vegetables, fruit, coconut oil or grass fed beef, by the way. When I binge, it's on processed junk food. So, NOT having cupcakes (what you think Melissa was obsessing over) around to eat in "moderation" is actually beneficial.

I completed a Whole30 recently and am about to start another. It's 30 days of eating whole, non-processed foods. You don't have to buy the book to complete the program as they give you all the information for FREE online, and you actually can eat potatoes (Melissa and Dallas stipulate in the book that the no white potato rule is just arbitrary since they are trying to encourage you to eat a variety of vegetables). No one puts a gun to your head or ridicules you if you cheat or stop doing the challenge. Melissa is actually incredibly supportive and kind, give FREE advice all the time to strangers. She will answer your emails and even encourage you to stop the challenge if you find it's distressing you too much to keep going. And by the way, the Whole30 is about making healthy choices (whole, real, organic, natural foods) and committing to not eating foods that are often triggers for those of us with EDs - hello? Sugar? Alcohol? Wheat?

And a question for you. You snark that the Hartwigs are just hacks out to make money, and yet you have a "Donate" button on your blog - why? Why should anyone donate money to you and this blog just so you can bash others because they follow a diet that you don't agree with? Seems you need to take a long hard look in the mirror. Oh, and enjoy your moderation.
carbsane said…
Wow ... you had me going there until the closing salvo showed your true colors.

I completed a Whole30 recently and am about to start another. It's 30 days of eating whole, non-processed foods.

I know what the Whole 30 is and there are lots of whole non-processed foods left off of the W30. But what have you been doing in between? Why aren't you just eating that way all the time. Moderation perhaps? You presume moderation means eating a lot of junk. It does not. Melissa's advice for people who go on binges when the W30 ends was that moderation is a hoax and the solution is to go on the W30.

Melissa is actually incredibly supportive and kind, give FREE advice all the time to strangers.

That's the easy stuff ... it's what she ultimately gets paid for. It's called a marketing strategy. She apparently has not done much to get her anorexic friend and colleague the help she needs.

(I did say I wouldn't post any more pictures of Amy, but I take that back. Based on some behind-the-scenes interactions regarding this issue, it is obvious that folks like Melissa and even Amy herself don't want to deal with the role their regimes can play in contributing to ED. Just keep posting and tweeting about what makes people fat and how to develop eating disordered obsessions to control intake. Overweight is far less health threatening than anorexia.)
merider said…
Showed my true colors? - by making a point that you are asking for money to support your blog that is based on bashing others? Interesting. Melissa Hartwig is demonized because she makes some of her living off a dietary program but you asking for money for pretty much nothing is a-okay. Got it.

As for Amy, Melissa is not her keeper. And it's pretty crass of you to use Amy as a way to bash Melissa. Anorexia is an extremely complicated disease. For all you know, Amy may very well be alive from eating whole foods on the paleo diet. That may be what is keeping her from getting sicker. But you don't know, you don't know her and you should be ashamed of yourself for assigning blame to Melissa for not doing more to help her friend. You don't know what she's done for Amy. How can you possibly throw that kind of accusation at someone?

I have a blog too, by the way. But the theme of mine is to encourage others to ride a bike. I cannot imagine spending the precious little time we have on earth so focused on another individual like you are. If you want to eat your carbs, eat them! Enjoy them! No one is forcing you to take the Whole30 challenge. Obviously, it isn't right for you. .

You ask why I don't just eat this way all the time - well, gee, if this world were perfect, more social events would be less about food and/or more about offering healthy foods. But even in CA, I am surrounded by poorly sourced meats, crappy vegetables, factory grade oils (cottonseed, soy, corn), sugar and gluten in just about everything. If you'd stop bashing Melissa Hartwig long enough to really examine the program she and Dallas have created, you might actually walk away from it thinking that it's incredibly healthy. And - surprise, surprise! - it isn't even low carb. (yes, that's a fact; and if you disagree with me, explain how fruits and sweet potatoes have no carbs in them as I'd be interested to hear).

One last point - the free advice from Melissa? Whether it's "marketing"
or not, it's still free. You can't change that fact, or this one: I did my first Whole30 entirely without paying a single dime. I felt amazing, had incredible energy, slept solid and lost 8 pounds while eating a ton of fruits and vegetables. I didn't binge or restrict. I thrived.
carbsane said…
I was talking about the Enjoy your cheesypoos nonsense. As to the Donate button, you'd be surprised who in the community has found the information on this blog helpful and donated, because as of now EVERYTHING is free.

Amy Kubal is a Whole9 Nutritional Consultant. It is therefore relevant and not bashing unless you acknowledge that it looks very bad for any outfit in the health and fitness arena to employ/contract/whatever a known anorexic in their organization.

I am not focused on any individual. The internet has been run amok by "detoxes" and food demonizing purists like the Whole9 gang, and Melissa herself had an eating disorder far worse than mine. That was the point of this post if you look at the table, she basically acknowledges everything she blamed on Zone for her case has been reported for Whole30. And yet the book comes with NO warning. Rather it is said to be for all people.

Have you read

You should.

What is your blog? Or are you content to lob anonymous pot shots at me from on high.
merider said…
I signed on here using my Twitter account and if you want to read my blog, feel free to hop on over to twitter to find the link. It's at the top.

And, wow, my jaw has dropped so far, not sure I can pick it back up. You really feel Amy shouldn't have her job as a consultant because you assume she has anorexia? I don't know the woman, but it could be that she's actually recovering or stable, not getting worse. The paleo diet may actually HELP her. You don't know and I don't know. But unlike you, I'm certainly not going to suggest that Melissa should discriminate against her because of a disease. Clearly, as a licensed nutritionist, Amy has helped design a program based on real foods. There is no counting calories, going hungry or suggestions of excessive exercise on the Whole30. It's just eating organic, whole foods and cutting out foods that aren't included on a paleo diet. So, I don't see how Amy having a disease is in any way affecting her ability to do her job.

As for Melissa and her ED - she's not obligated to warn anyone about her 30 day eating plan that uses no supplements, no chemicals, no drugs - just all natural food - that they might get an ED following the challenge. You must be kidding. As I pointed out in my original comment to you, someone with an ED has issues with food in general, not any specific diet that, oh, gasp!, cuts out sugar, alcohol and wheat. It's a strict paleo diet, one that many people do follow 24/7 and live healthy, happy, active lives.

Following your logic, Weight Watchers should be held liable for anyone following their restrictive 1,200 calories a day point plan for all the anorexics out there who followed the diet and got sicker. Why don't you go tell WW that? Oh, wait, that's right...they allow things like sugar and wheat and all the yummy processed carbs that must be defended, because...why?

My name is Mary Raffety, by the way. I live in Los Angeles. I've been on Weight Watchers more than once and compared to the Whole30, that diet is unbelievably dangerous. The message they send, "everything in moderation" is what keeps them with a steady stream of repeat customers. You seriously are going after the wrong people for all the wrong reasons.
carbsane said…
I am assuming nothing. You on the other hand are assuming an awful lot about me.

I do not know if going paleo in Feb 2009 triggered Amy's relapse or if she was already relapsed. Anyone with a pair of eyes, can see that her health has declined precipitously in the past 2 years. Please read through the comments here and the other post.

I'll respond in more detail later, busy at the moment.
carbsane said…
OK I don't know what's going on with this last comment -- it went to spam I approved, I "showed", I responded. Now it appears to show up for me, but my response does not. I'm busy with other matters at the moment so I will write more later, but know this please -- I am not assuming anything about Amy Kubal. She was diagnosed with anorexia in the 5th grade and has very clearly relapsed.
merider said…
Forgive me for not being clearer - by assuming, I mean with connection to her consulting with Whole9. I am fully aware that she is ill. But I do not believe it is because she eats paleo. I also do not believe that she can't give others advice on healthy food choices and nutrition just because she's ill.

Anyway, I've said what I needed to say. I'm not going to convince you of anything, clearly.

You write very well and it's too bad you can't focus more on diet in general without slandering people on the internet. And yes, insinuating that Melissa Hartwig and Amy Kubal are two people with EDs spreading and profiting from a dangerous diet is slander. The Whole30 will not cause an ED. It can actually HELP with changing ED behaviors, habits and cycles as well as getting an individual to make healthy food choices, eating non processed food and more nutrition fruits and vegetables. I'm living proof of that.
grinch said…
Telling obese people that they simply need to eat in moderation is pure nonsense. Addictive drugs and hyper-palatable food activate the brain's reward system similarly. Since it is common sense that you don't tell heroin addicts and alcoholics to drink/inject in moderation, it should seem like common sense that you don't tell an obese person to eat the same foods that got them obese in moderation.
carbsane said…
Thank you for missing the point.
ExEffectsGuy said…
I have never heard of Whole9 or Whole30. Sounds like just another variation on a few other "diets." Fine with me I guess. I've bought into sillier stuff in the past. Now, I am, for me, totally into moderation in all things, eating included. When did eating become so complicated? Was it when the government and the media started telling us how dangerous food choices could be? Who knows? Anyway, I don't ever intentiontionally try to convince anyway of the superiority of one way of eating over another. I've certainly been guilty of "trying stuff." I now eat as my mom taught me. Silly......I know. It seems to make me happiest and as healthy as I have a right to be. I also have to say the very few times I have posted a short tame comment on certain truly fanatical sites mentioning my past "experiments" and how I now just eat in a balanced fashion, the comment is deleted immediately or I get a ton of email telling me how stupid I am for being uninformed enough to be eating anything other than only bananas or just meat or 24 eggs a day or you name it! I am often told I need to eat, or totally avoid, more butter. Like they know how much butter I eat! I try to lurk sites now because I just find the subject of diet and the passion very interesting. I don't find judging profit motive to be the best indicator of sincerity, but it does factor in. Who works for free? Anyway, I just want to mention again I appreciate this website for generally promoting balance in eating. Sad it even has to be championed at all but hey....Dr Oz ain't gonna' do it!
carbsane said…
I am often accused of hating on people for wanting to make a buck. That's not it at all. I do have an extreme distaste for those who make a buck scamming people. Selling books, programs, supplements, tests, etc.etc. that don't deliver is scamming. To me the most troubling are the gurus for which their "magic diet" is not working. There have been far too many "true confessions" in the past year where the confessors keep right on selling their stuff. This is fraud, plain and simple.

Is what the Hartwigs doing fraud? I wouldn't say it reaches that level, but they are aware of the downside yet do not put the warning on their uber-restrictive program out there front and center. They also change the rules on a whim and don't live by their own beliefs. You cannot say something like "there is no food neutral" and then have to, as Dallas did in October, go caffeine free for a month because you've been drinking too much coffee. By their own edicts, coffee is either good or bad, no neutral. So there's no amount that he should have been drinking. Same goes for the whole Whole30 ... it's not the Whole365. Well ... why not? Does a food magically change into not-so-unhealthy? Such hypocrisy!!
ExEffectsGuy said…
I agree. I think this can certainly explain the actions of every guru I have heard of. They specialize in an elastic reality at best. Again, thanks and all the best to all of us (gurus included) in every sense of the word!
P2ZR said…
So I’m breaking my own rules about Disqus. Too many things to address.

1. I think the discussion re: moderation should really center on ABILITY rather than everyday behavior. This is admittedly made harder by the phrase ‘to practice moderation’. It is not about whether you eat 3 cookies daily or a small fries every week at McDonald’s or
popcorn popped in dubious oil whenever you go to the movie theatre.

It is about whether you CAN have just a ‘moderate’ amount of whatever not-conducive-to-immortality food WITHOUT (A) a guilt trip, and WITHOUT (B) becoming wild-eyed with the compulsion to go out and buy 5 more packages of it and then promptly finish it all in one sitting.

If one CAN’T for certain foods, and the list of those foods is sizable, then that says more about the person than the foods.

I used to play the ‘moderation game’ with myself during ‘recovery’ from AN (that long phase when I was still too messed up to commit 100% to recovery). I would get some generous amount of not-so-‘good’ food in order to test myself to see if I could just have a ‘moderate’ portion of it. Obviously, my body was so destroyed and screaming for nutrients that (this is after re-learning the hunger impulse) that I promptly scarfed down that arbitrary ‘moderate’ amount and then some. Clearly, that meant I was a moral failure. A PIG. And so began penance, in the form of extreme fasts and exercise I was in no condition to do. And there was an immense list of such trigger foods. In fact, anything that didn’t taste outright

These days, I eat as much as I want of almost anything I want. I can do moderation perfectly fine. I don’t eat m&m’s on a regular basis, but if a friend sticks a tub under my nose and insists I have some, I will grab a handful, enjoy them, with absolutely no
guilt nor any desire for more and more.

I grant that moderation may not be possible for everyone, such as those with a long history of bingeing. But to say that it does not work for anyone because it does not work for some, would be akin to saying that abstinence is the ONLY possible approach to alcohol because it is the best approach for some reformed alcoholics.

Those for whom moderation does not work should not be judged. It did not work for me when I was mentally and physically destroyed. It does not work for others due to the brain
chemistry of bingeing. But those who state that moderation CANNOT work for just about anyone, often insinuating if not outright claiming that proponents of moderation are simply ‘addicts’ to ‘subpar’ food items, deserve to be called out. For instilling fear, for feeding into unhealthy mindsets. Probably because they have not mastered their own fear of ‘subpar’/‘kill you dead!!!’ food items, and don’t trust themselves around them, or have accepted that THEY cannot do moderation. My trigger food list right now consists of two items: double chocolate ice cream and brandy. How long are the lists of those vociferously denouncing moderation?

P2ZR said…
2. The ‘they are [martyrs] helping people!!!’ thing has got to stop. Apparently all this
turning up of noses at mainstream medicine has left the paleosphere with no
awareness of the ethical foundation of medicine. Believe it or not, it does exist, and it’s called the Hippocratic Oath. FIRST, DO NO HARM. You are helping people, maybe even a large number of them? Well, good…for THEM. Not you, and not all the people who did not improve using your methods, and quietly retreated because you have so carefully convinced everyone that any failures are their fault and not
yours. Because just look at all the successful followers—gurus can never be wrong; it is the unsuccessful followers who didn’t try hard enough or ‘correctly’.

I was going to mention that act utilitarianism can lead to ludicrous results in healthcare: for example, saying that administering drug X is better than drug Y because X helps 60% of people while Y only helps 55% would be ridiculous if also given that X kills 40% it doesn’t help, while Y only leaves the un-helped 45% with skin rashes.

But can the paleo gurus even say that their methods help the majority of people who try it, as those who don’t improve mostly are silent? Those that
aren’t give a glimpse into what can go wrong. They are part of why the buffoonish Matt Stone has a following.

Diet is not religion. So before saying that you’ve seen the light, check again to make sure you haven’t been taken in by smoke and mirrors. (One gem from the usual buffoon Mr Stone--'catecholamine rush', where some stressor sends you off on a high, only to have you crash and burn terribly later.) And stop making martyrs out of your presumed diet saviors. Taking the 50,000-foot view, there is real holiness and there are real wars and real martyrs out there in the world. And they don’t have to do with diet.
carbsane said…
I knew I'd wear you down ;-)
Bris Vegas said…
"Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we
define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and
discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and
processed foods."

Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets
Philip J Tuso, MD; Mohamed H Ismail, MD; Benjamin P Ha, MD; Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD

Perm J 2013 Spring; 17(2):61-66

That is from America's largest HMO. You would be hard pressed to find a more restrictive diet than that - NO animal products or processed foods.
carbsane said…
I'm no big fan of "discourages" but in practice such recommendations are more of the notion to "eat liberally of" for encourages, and "limit" rather than discourage. In this regard, this is not quite as restrictive as you portray.

I don't know what the relationship is between an article in this journal and the general policy of physician advice in the HMO. But even the largest single HMO is a drop in the bucket here in terms of influence.
Bris Vegas said…
The paper actually suggests only two "alternate" versions of a healthy diet - the "Ornish Diet" or the "Esseltyn Diet". Esseltyn allows NO animal all. Ornish allows very limited consumption of egg whites and skim milk but no other meat , egg or dairy products.

"Leading proponents in the field have varying opinions as to what
comprises the optimal plant-based diet. Ornish et al recommends allowing
animal products such as egg whites and skim milk in small amounts for
reversal of disease."

"Esselstyn, who directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal
program at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, recommends
completely avoiding all animal-based products as well as soybeans and
nuts, particularly if severe coronary artery disease is present."

Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

KP employs over 182,000 people including 15,000 doctors. It has 9 million members and has a 40% share of the HMO market in California. KP is a massively powerful and highly influential healthcare organisation not a "drop in the bucket"/
"Taking the 50,000-foot view, there is real holiness and there are real wars and real martyrs out there in the world. And they don’t have to do with diet."

Absolutely! There's real war over, and driven by, much more insidious madness than a bunch of clueless, bored, first-world diet gurus and their equally bored flocks.
charles grashow said…
Your point being?
charles grashow said…
This man is dangerous

After learning about the statin drugs they were both taking, I outright pushed my mother to get off it immediately. Thankfully, she complied and dropped the medication. But we both knew it would be next to impossible to reason with my dad about this subject since he submits to EVERYTHING his doctor tells him. He’s basically just a stubborn old goat.

I remained hopeful that if I could lead by example and have mom incorporate some small (sneaky) tweaks here and there, maybe just maybe some progress with dad MIGHT be made. Well, over Thanksgiving last week, my mother whispered to me that my dad had decided to stop taking his statin as well–all on his own accord!!! Jimmy, I know that it was
your book that did it, that spoke to him in just the right way that he could understand it, and the information was backed up by the sort of medical authority he could trust and believe. Yes! I know this is a game-changer for his health and longevity, in so many different ways, and I will forever be grateful to you! Thank you!

What happens when people do this AND DIE??
carbsane said…
As he eats a half pound of butter in a caricature of himself. It's paleo though!! :(
AriD2385 said…
I think the main issue with defining moderation in eating as being able to have "anything" is that such an option only exists in a very particular food economy, namely our current agribusiness and global trade food economy that makes anything and everyone available to us in the West 24/7/365. What is available to us at any and all times is likely very out of whack with what we need to be eating. So someone appears "moderate" in eating a cupcake per week--but just because cupcakes are available every day, doesn't automatically mean that once a week is OK. Maybe once every month would actually be better for longterm health. That's just a hypothetical example. The point is that "moderation" is usually viewed through the lens of what is available and how often, which is unreliable as a measure of what is actually healthy.

Also, maybe this completely contradicts the point of the post, but if people have certain fitness goals, they are going to have to restrict pretty significantly and be consistent in doing so. I actually agree with the sentiment that moderation doesn't "work" in terms of reaching certain goals. Because it really doesn't. Certain things are going to have to become occasional treats only, not something you can indulge on a regular basis. I have been surprised as the amount of *consistency* it takes in sticking with one way of eating in order to make continued progress. If I decided I could have whatever I found appealing so long as I was being "moderate" (again, easy to trick oneself), I'd not get anywhere. And like I mentioned above, the attitude seems extreme in relation to our current food economy and ways of eating which are both unreliable guides.
carbsane said…
I thank you for the considered response here. What I think you are not getting here is that moderation does not mean you HAVE to eat ANYTHING every X meals, days, weeks, months. The 80/20 rule or even 90/10 is one of both moderation and consistency.

I've become friendly with several bodybuilder and physique competitors over the past year or so. Many of whom are "flexible dieters" even in their cutting stage. Surely in the last couple weeks or so (I don't really ask as that's not my cuppa tea) things are tightened up, but do notice that in the beginning of the article I made exceptions for such cases.

Everyone should eat as they wish. It's when arbitrary and extreme restrictions go bad that's the problem. Unfortunately this seems to be worse in some communities than others and it comes down to when coping behaviors generally considered warning signs become accepted and even celebrated within that community.
MacSmiley said…
Sickening. You've got to be completely delusional to do that to your own PARENTS!
Glenn Dixon said…
Evelyn - your link from the phrase 'usual rules' is 404 on their site
charles grashow said…

"Today, the smart folks over at Whole9 decided to modify the Whole 30 to allow for white potatoes.

Cool. I think that unless you have an issue with nightshades, white potatoes can be a fine thing to eat. They are a real, unprocessed food. You might want to use them to carb-load at night after a late-afternoon lifting session, or, on the other hand, you might want to go light on them in general (just like any starch) if fat loss is your goal.

Whatever. It is all a reasonable choice that you have to work through.

What makes me somewhat loony -- and by "somewhat loony" I mean "positively fucking stabby while yelling, 'What the fuck is wrong with you?'"-- is people's reactions, particularly the ones that go something like: "Oh, thank [Jesus, Allah, Baal, Yahweh, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Other Divine Being], I really wanted to eat potatoes."


If you "really want" to eat something, why don't you eat it? Or else decide that you don't really "want" it because it is going to do something bad to you?

We call that "being an adult about food."

In other words, isn't this whole paleo/primal/Whole30 deal an exercise in figuring out how you really want to eat? And I can definitely tell you that it's specifically not a lesson in being a robot who follows orders. We call that "dieting."

And we hate it.

In all seriousness, why are you treating Dallas and Melissa Hartwig like they are controlling your food intake?

You, motherfucker. You're the one doing that.

So grow up and do it.

(And yes, it's fine to look to them -- because they are good at what they do and know their shit -- for guidance and advice, but stop treating them, or anyone else, like puppeteers controlling what you put in your mouth.)"
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