19

votes

Hack Dr. Kurt Harris's view on GAPS, autoimmune, worms, and more!

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 28, 2012 at 1:36 AM

Have you seen Dr. Harris's interesting recent viewpoint concerning the gut and our immune response, on Melissa's blog? Here's the argument, blow-by-blow, paraphrased for brevity, and sometimes for humorous effect.

--Melissa--
Paleo didn't fix my digestive problems. "Good" and "bad" foods are defined relative to your individual biology and current situation. The line is blurry between "good" nut and coconut flours and "bad" grain flours. Also, I eat foods that taste good and that sometimes includes grains. If you don't like that, you're a stupid baby.

--Chris Ford--
Many (all?) plants have antinutrients, and picking an "evolutionary template" is misguided. MiRNA in rice may have been a news item, but it's not necessarily unique.

--Kurt Harris--
Right on bro. I'm the guy who brought you "varying levels of macronutrients are not going to kill you". Now allow me to blow your mind with some more tasty joojoo. Avoiding bad guys like gluten may relieve symptoms, but the core problem is often immune dysregulation. Guess what? You can eat a 100% perfect paleo diet, but the root problem may not be food.

--Frederik Beck--
Immune dysregulation? I have so many questions on this, I don't even know where to begin. What's up with the GAPS diet? You're saying helping your gut flora is not the ultimate purpose in life? The microbiome is so crazy!

--Kurt Harris--
Let me entrap you in my lyrical flow...The bacterial component is very important but there is very little you can do to change it once you are older than a toddler. This is what my reading of the literature so far shows. Yogurt and Kimchi and probiotic pills and eating dirty veggies are all peeing in the wind if you have any serious immune dysregulation going on. How to improve the immune system? That's the big question. Maybe...WORMS! Yes, consider the helminth. Don't be a dummy though, parasites can kill. Don't go willy-nilly eating dirty veggies and walking barefoot in the swamp.

--Emily Deans--
Obi Kurt Kenobi, you're our only hope! What do you think of the use of pseudocommensals?


EDIT:
If you're reading this, you should also read this... http://paleohacks.com/questions/107257/is-paleo-a-band-aid#ixzz1qMw36TFg


079c9288506d6692b9ce6ab0e9b2bcac

(359)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Some (like Paul Jaminet) seem to think nutrient density is what food reward is all about (hyperpalatable foods might be excluded as having unique addictive properties). So the body is craving more food because it is craving nutrients not calories.

F10f0f407c8c18f9584fa6b164f39d20

on March 31, 2012
at 08:39 PM

Fair enough....

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 31, 2012
at 05:30 PM

I was the person who first starting warning about this! But please stay on topic in questions and refrain from just plain old nastiness. You are making me look nice, that is a bad thing since I am not nice at all. Believe me, I want to write that kind of stuff too, but we have to stay somewhat civil here or it will become a moderation nightmare.

3995458c8ba769c7e95d07a2e438d875

on March 31, 2012
at 07:50 AM

luckybastard thanks for giving me the best laugh I've had all year with that comment... im still lol'ing

7c2b34b8626dc30e40567283c4ad1e1c

(686)

on March 30, 2012
at 01:28 AM

@Dr. Harris, I'm aware that the thymus shrinks throughout one's adult life. Peat believes this is a consequence of hormones that promote the breakdown of tissue for glucose and may explain the advent of autoimmune conditions experienced later in life.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 30, 2012
at 01:21 AM

I also feel my worst, which admittedly isn't bad any more, after eating. I feel best when I haven't eaten in 12 hours or more, which is why I rarely eat more than one meal per day. Hang in there! I know 4 years indicates long odds but, if you haven't already, read up on water kefir and try that. I'd still be in the dustbin without it--and if it's not the solution for you, maybe something else is. You'll be in my thoughts.

F10f0f407c8c18f9584fa6b164f39d20

on March 29, 2012
at 09:45 PM

Ah, the lovely Melissa...queen of snark. There was nothing 'troll-like' about my comment(s). I was attempting to make a serious point, and I certainly never claimed you 'hated' Kurt Harris. I think your motivations are more subtle - as they are, probably, for this community at large. Either way, as things stand the orthodox 'low carb' movement (such as it is these days) is attempting to co-opt ancestral health (however one wishes to define it). Burying our heads in the sand and pretending it isn't happening will do no good. But whatever...don't want to be a troll, now do I?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 29, 2012
at 04:53 PM

I love the expression "WTF nuggets".! Another Kurt Harris original. (I am going to use that one too.)

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on March 29, 2012
at 06:38 AM

I eat 7 lbs of raw carrots per week.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2012
at 06:02 AM

I'll just leave this one up because it's so funny.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2012
at 06:01 AM

EatLessMoveMoore has been trolling PH posting totally irrelevant "answers" that are just attacks on Jimmy Moore. And then accusing me of loving Jimmy Moore and hating Kurt Harris. That last part is just kind of hilarious and will elicit laughs from anyone who actually follows my work or my writing on this site 0_o

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2012
at 05:59 AM

I'm just going to leave this up because it's so hilarious.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 29, 2012
at 05:51 AM

I am alergic to raw carrots...

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:59 PM

Sean Abbott, I don't think so. If that were the case, you'd crave kale, not hot fudge sundae. True, no one craves kale. But you would and be instantly satiated. That's not the case. Kale basically tastes like random leaves of grass. Also, white rice is pretty satiating, even though it's pretty much empty calories.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on March 28, 2012
at 07:59 PM

@Gydle, good call on the "there are just too many of us, frankly." It's the 6.8 billion lb (and counting) gorilla in the room. http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_pop_totl&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=world+population#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=sp_pop_totl&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&ifdim=region&tdim=true&tstart=-308088000000&tend=1269748800000&hl=en_US&dl=en

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 28, 2012
at 07:36 PM

In a span of just 3-4 generations we have gone from family farm to factory farm, and I think this is hugely important. Raw milk from your cow and eggs from your chickens and the hog you feed your scraps and butcher in your back yard resemble in NO recognizable way what is sold in supermarkets as "food." As the world becomes more urbanized this problem is only going to get worse. I think we need to look very carefully at how food is produced for all these people. THere are just too many of us, frankly.

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on March 28, 2012
at 07:12 PM

Gotchya. I understand completely. I guess the only trouble is that most people don't have the time, capabilities, or interest to become an expert on such matters. And even if they think they know what they're doing, they could still screw up. Perhaps in the future we'll have fecal transplant pills for sale at the local pharmacy, just like probiotics. I hope.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 06:58 PM

rodger. This is why I am offering nothing prescriptive, despite the whining from people like Bruno. To take one example, eating dirty vegetables could easily give you a parasite meant for another species that could blind you or otherwise make you seriously ill. DO NOT MESS AROUND WITH THIS CONCEPT UNLESS YOU HAVE DONE YOUR OWN WORK TO THE POINT OF BEING YOUR OWN EXPERT. For now I am just trying to get people to reconsider the idea that paleo DIETS are the most and best you can do to "heal" the immune system.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 06:53 PM

This is what drive me crazy about Peat, and why knowledgeable people waste no time reading or even trying to refute him. His writings a sprinked with these kind of WTF? nuggets.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 06:52 PM

Optimal? Is your umbilical cord still dangling from your navel right now? I am not "suggesting" anything. I am saying it is absolutely normal ontogeny in humans for the thymus to involute. If you can even SEE the thymus easily on a chest CT, you need to think about lymphoma. Does that help frame it?

7c2b34b8626dc30e40567283c4ad1e1c

(686)

on March 28, 2012
at 06:32 PM

@Dr. Harris, are you suggesting it's optimal to have your thymus shrink throughout your adult years?

7c2b34b8626dc30e40567283c4ad1e1c

(686)

on March 28, 2012
at 06:32 PM

@Dr. Harris, are you saying it's optimal to have your thymus shrink throughout your adult years?

7c2b34b8626dc30e40567283c4ad1e1c

(686)

on March 28, 2012
at 06:28 PM

@Bobby Reed, it would help if you understood why Peat recommends a raw carrot to everyone who asks him for help.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 06:12 PM

Nance. It's hard to just write about things with the hazard that someone might construct a whole diet on a just a few sentences. No harm done, thanks for your support.

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on March 28, 2012
at 04:58 PM

" We have to think long term strategy here." I agree. I get it. Paleo won't fix the microbiome. Can we start talking about what *does* work? Dirty vegetables, fecal transplants? Dangerous territory, but perhaps we should stop ignoring them.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 28, 2012
at 04:28 PM

@Dr Harris, I really do know better because I've read a lot of your posts and you do recommend/follow a varied, practical regimen. I understand your frustration and apologize. Please keep communicating!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 28, 2012
at 04:21 PM

@Dr Harris, I'd better plead guilty in advance but I spoke based on the quote in this question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/107830/only-starch-and-meat-diet#axzz1qQeXGTor I'll be more careful in future. Again, I agree about meat/starch being the core diet but I feel the other foods are beneficial as well.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 04:01 PM

Bobby - be careful making causal associations. The typical course of most disorders of immune regulation i sinusoidal - a relapsing remitting pattern. MS is classic in this regard, and asthma has recently beed shown to have periods of long spontaneous remission. If you have AI disorders and attempt to correlate with dietary changes (let's face it, some here like Danny have made radical changes in short periods of time) you run a very high risk of making spurious associations that having nothing to do with what is actually going on.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 03:57 PM

You guys need to stop reading Ray Peat and start reading actual endocrinology. If your thymus is not mostly involuted by the time you are a young adult, that is actually a sign of pathology. Learn to read chest CTs and MRIs and that will be obvious to you.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 03:52 PM

When did I say you must eat anything in particular, much less only meat and starch? I have always emphasized avoiding just a few bad things and then eating whatever you want. I only once commented that I thought starchy veggies are more historically "paleo" than greens, which is true. I never said not to eat greens. I eat them myself all the time!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 28, 2012
at 02:57 PM

@Dr Harris, my "yes, but" is that people are claiming you advocate eating only meat and starch--I'm saying the greens, etc., feed the gut. And even with my robust immune system I'm very sensitive to food additives and scents, etc. I haven't been sick (other than from testing wheat) in a year but I could easily select a meal of junk food that would make me feel like crap for 3 days.

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6259)

on March 28, 2012
at 02:24 PM

But SAD changes the gut microbiome for the worse!

079c9288506d6692b9ce6ab0e9b2bcac

(359)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:02 AM

@Namby Pamby Some (like Paul Jaminet) seem to think nutrient density is what food reward is all about (hyperpalatable foods might be excluded as having unique addictive properties). So the body is craving more food because it is craving nutrients not calories.

Ccdc27aff838f8353f6931e1bebecf2e

(60)

on March 28, 2012
at 07:54 AM

Bad gut health will show one way or another. I never had antibiotic's till later in my 30s when I went on several courses for acne, and since then my thyroid health went south... Before it was literally perfect. After years of antibiotics and the SAD, I now have issues. I do a mix of Peat and Paleo and PHD, my thyroid labs have improved but some immune dysfunction remains... this where Kurt hits the nail on the head. It's got way more to do with gut health than thymus. After all, 70% of the immune response is in the GUT!

Ccdc27aff838f8353f6931e1bebecf2e

(60)

on March 28, 2012
at 07:51 AM

I think it's much more likely that gut health comes first, then diet, which influences the hormones, etc etc. For instance, with Peat, "stress" causes high estrogen, low thyroid etc etc... Bad gut health IS stress. Just like caloric restriction. Except for caloric restriction can be fixed in the blink of an eye. Gut health cannot. Consuming OJ, Milk, sugar ad lib and keeping the thyroid humming is just as much of a "band-aid" as Paleo is. Just because your reducing fermentable fibers, your bad gut flora is still producing endotoxin. No matter how good your thyroid is...

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 28, 2012
at 06:57 AM

THat link in the last comment is amazing. I think my brain is exploding.

685e3c967e63b4eacccf02628fd9a3ac

(1026)

on March 28, 2012
at 06:41 AM

I made the *is paleo a band-aid* question and I don't think this is a duplicate at all. I'd call this question the follow-up.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 28, 2012
at 06:14 AM

But then there's always the Pima indians. Who were fine until they started eating SAD.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 28, 2012
at 04:55 AM

Hello Kurt! Good to hear from you!

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on March 28, 2012
at 03:59 AM

I never understood nutrient density. Kale and collard greens have the most nutrient "density" in terms of containing vitamins and minerals. But that doesn't mean you should seek out only nutrient dense foods. White rice is not nutrient dense but it is a source of glucose and is free of toxins. Junk foods are calorically dense and nutritionally empty and full of NADs. You need fillers like white rice and yuca which may not be nutrient dense but provides the sugar/glucose necessary without offering too much fructose or toxins like gluten.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 03:55 AM

And I might suggest that your immune status, as as result of your delightfully dirty history, is what allowed your gut flora to rehabilitate.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 03:54 AM

Where is the yes, but?? I am saying that the immune status of your body is more INDEPENDENT of diet than the standard paleo line. Your ability to expand and eat a more varied diet precisely supports the point I am trying to make. I believe your tolerance for food is determined by gut health and immune status more than food choices determine gut health and immune status. Paleo dogma has is the other way round... I've not once said anything about nutrient density, maybe you are thinking of someone else?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 28, 2012
at 02:31 AM

Who's scruffy-looking?

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on March 28, 2012
at 02:18 AM

Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder! I guess I have to support your "Do. Or do not. There is no try." mentality. **pew**

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 28, 2012
at 02:12 AM

It was, but I sunk your battleship like ten minutes ago. Also, I'm claiming the LOLcat domain as mine, starting right now.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on March 28, 2012
at 02:09 AM

Damn you Kamal! **pew pew pew** was MY line!

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 28, 2012
at 02:04 AM

Not if I ban you first. **pew pew pew**

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 28, 2012
at 01:59 AM

UR banned 4ever.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 28, 2012
at 01:50 AM

Leave it. I like your spin on it.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 28, 2012
at 01:46 AM

Should I delete/merge this question? I must not be spending enough time on PH...totally missed the bandaid question.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on March 28, 2012
at 01:40 AM

Not a real question! Seriously, though. KGH goes into the mountain and always seem to come back with a tablet that takes this shit to the next level. I'm a fanboy. Sue me.

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6 Answers

7
7c2b34b8626dc30e40567283c4ad1e1c

on March 28, 2012
at 06:04 AM

"I believe your tolerance for food is determined by gut health and immune status more than food choices determine gut health and immune status."

But, numerous hormonal markers of stress and inflammation promote the involution of the thymus.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 03:57 PM

You guys need to stop reading Ray Peat and start reading actual endocrinology. If your thymus is not mostly involuted by the time you are a young adult, that is actually a sign of pathology. Learn to read chest CTs and MRIs and that will be obvious to you.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 04:01 PM

Bobby - be careful making causal associations. The typical course of most disorders of immune regulation i sinusoidal - a relapsing remitting pattern. MS is classic in this regard, and asthma has recently beed shown to have periods of long spontaneous remission. If you have AI disorders and attempt to correlate with dietary changes (let's face it, some here like Danny have made radical changes in short periods of time) you run a very high risk of making spurious associations that having nothing to do with what is actually going on.

7c2b34b8626dc30e40567283c4ad1e1c

(686)

on March 28, 2012
at 06:32 PM

@Dr. Harris, are you suggesting it's optimal to have your thymus shrink throughout your adult years?

7c2b34b8626dc30e40567283c4ad1e1c

(686)

on March 28, 2012
at 06:32 PM

@Dr. Harris, are you saying it's optimal to have your thymus shrink throughout your adult years?

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 06:52 PM

Optimal? Is your umbilical cord still dangling from your navel right now? I am not "suggesting" anything. I am saying it is absolutely normal ontogeny in humans for the thymus to involute. If you can even SEE the thymus easily on a chest CT, you need to think about lymphoma. Does that help frame it?

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 29, 2012
at 05:51 AM

I am alergic to raw carrots...

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 29, 2012
at 04:53 PM

I love the expression "WTF nuggets".! Another Kurt Harris original. (I am going to use that one too.)

Ccdc27aff838f8353f6931e1bebecf2e

(60)

on March 28, 2012
at 07:51 AM

I think it's much more likely that gut health comes first, then diet, which influences the hormones, etc etc. For instance, with Peat, "stress" causes high estrogen, low thyroid etc etc... Bad gut health IS stress. Just like caloric restriction. Except for caloric restriction can be fixed in the blink of an eye. Gut health cannot. Consuming OJ, Milk, sugar ad lib and keeping the thyroid humming is just as much of a "band-aid" as Paleo is. Just because your reducing fermentable fibers, your bad gut flora is still producing endotoxin. No matter how good your thyroid is...

7c2b34b8626dc30e40567283c4ad1e1c

(686)

on March 28, 2012
at 06:28 PM

@Bobby Reed, it would help if you understood why Peat recommends a raw carrot to everyone who asks him for help.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 06:53 PM

This is what drive me crazy about Peat, and why knowledgeable people waste no time reading or even trying to refute him. His writings a sprinked with these kind of WTF? nuggets.

Ccdc27aff838f8353f6931e1bebecf2e

(60)

on March 28, 2012
at 07:54 AM

Bad gut health will show one way or another. I never had antibiotic's till later in my 30s when I went on several courses for acne, and since then my thyroid health went south... Before it was literally perfect. After years of antibiotics and the SAD, I now have issues. I do a mix of Peat and Paleo and PHD, my thyroid labs have improved but some immune dysfunction remains... this where Kurt hits the nail on the head. It's got way more to do with gut health than thymus. After all, 70% of the immune response is in the GUT!

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on March 29, 2012
at 06:38 AM

I eat 7 lbs of raw carrots per week.

7c2b34b8626dc30e40567283c4ad1e1c

(686)

on March 30, 2012
at 01:28 AM

@Dr. Harris, I'm aware that the thymus shrinks throughout one's adult life. Peat believes this is a consequence of hormones that promote the breakdown of tissue for glucose and may explain the advent of autoimmune conditions experienced later in life.

6
7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

on March 29, 2012
at 07:01 AM

I feel compelled to agree with the "paleo band-aid" concept even though years ago, I would have absolutely toed the paleo party line - i.e., "just eat paleo for an indeterminate period of time and your health problems will magically go away." I realize no one likes this concept around here, as indicated by my absence of votes, however I am hanging out on Paleo Hacks, after all. Owing to the fact that 4 years ago I adopted a rather paleo-ish diet (which got increasingly paleo-puritanical) and managed to expel some evil spirits with antifungals and the like - and realized how much better I felt with less carbs, no gluten or dairy and processed evil SAD food - I think a part of me still really does want to believe that paleo will fix me, somehow, some way, eventually. Otherwise it would be easier to just stop thinking about diet, lurking around Hacks and hoping that some glittering comment, sprinkled with twinkling unicorn sparkles, can dispel my increasingly entrenched pessimism. Seriously, I do wish something as easy as dietary changes - other than eating almost no variety of foods - could fix me.

I think I'm a good example of a canary in the coalmine of modern dietary/etc. distortion, as others have mentioned. I was born caesarian section; I had an ultra-sterile home owing to ultra-zealous clean freakiness; I had round after round after round (about a dozen instances) of broad-spectrum antibiotics for an infectious cyst when I was a teenager because I had no PCP because I had no health insurance; I downed aspartame, in diet Pepsi and coffee, like there was no tomorrow (if I only I knew!) because it was addictive and everyone said it's safe! it's not like you're freebasing it or something!; I loaded up on high-phenol foods for a period more recently, when the shiznit really hit the fan; I experienced an arseload of stress throughout the years...etc. etc. I'm now "intolerant" or hypersensitive to damn near everything - what's the name for that? Multiple Chemical Sensitivity? Environmental Illness? Whatever it is...FML.

I'm glad Nance and others have played in the dirt because we need some functioning human beings on this planet, but at 29 years old I can only deeply wish I were born in the dirt and not in the dustbin. After 4 years of pounding probiotics and cod liver oil, eating raw sauerkraut and homemade yogurt, loading up on "antioxidants" (woops), doing chants and incantations...I only feel nearly 100% well, fasting-induced adrenaline-junkiness notwithstanding, when I'm not eating. The only dietary fix that works now is NO diet, no food, no paleo, no sparkly unicorn excretions.

To quote Death Cab:

"Cause I built you a home in my heart With rotten wood; it decayed from the start.

Cause you can't find nothing at all, If there was nothing there all along. No you can't find nothing at all, If there was nothing there all along."

Ha! Let the no/negative voting ensue.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 30, 2012
at 01:21 AM

I also feel my worst, which admittedly isn't bad any more, after eating. I feel best when I haven't eaten in 12 hours or more, which is why I rarely eat more than one meal per day. Hang in there! I know 4 years indicates long odds but, if you haven't already, read up on water kefir and try that. I'd still be in the dustbin without it--and if it's not the solution for you, maybe something else is. You'll be in my thoughts.

6
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 28, 2012
at 02:00 AM

Kamal, only you could make me laugh out loud while provoking additional thought--your question gives new meaning to the phrase "gut-brain axis."

Okay, I'll be serious for just a moment. I'd never dare challenge any of the luminaries you so wittily paraphrased, but as with so many other things I don't think this is cut and dried.

Maybe I'm lucky to be so old, because I think I do in fact have a vigorous, well-educated immune system. I grew up without central plumbing and was a dirty, dirty girl in constant contact with a wide variety of domesticated and wild animals/plants. (Yes, in those times I suffered pin worms and other "old friends.)

So why, then, was I so sick a year ago and why did my many chronic symptoms disappear within 30 days of "going paleo?" Well, for one thing, I'd been given some heavy-duty antibiotics. Within the context of today's discussion, perhaps I rebounded so quickly because I DO have a great immune system. Yes, my gut flora were pathetic but I and they responded wonderfully to whole foods, water kefir and (later) home-made yogurt.

My career of "pure paleo" was about 3 months long and, ever since, I've steadily expanded what I eat. I am careful to eat a diet dominated by whole foods, but I'm also throwing in small quantities of pretty much whatever strikes my fancy. My only remaining rule is that anything I eat has to provide some level of nutritional or medicinal value. No empty calories, no manufactured food-like products.

My area of "yes, but ..." with Dr Harris is that modern hunter/gatherers may indeed get the majority of their calories from meat and tubers but the many decades of documentaries I enjoyed in my life always showed they also consumed many lower-density plants and fruits. And I do the same. While at least 60-75% of my nutrients come from meat and starch, about 50% of my food volume comes from greens and non-starchy vegetables and low-, moderate-fructose fruits.

I don't agree we should dismiss the importance of those foods just because they don't provide the nutrient density--I believe they support my rehabilitated gut flora.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on March 28, 2012
at 03:59 AM

I never understood nutrient density. Kale and collard greens have the most nutrient "density" in terms of containing vitamins and minerals. But that doesn't mean you should seek out only nutrient dense foods. White rice is not nutrient dense but it is a source of glucose and is free of toxins. Junk foods are calorically dense and nutritionally empty and full of NADs. You need fillers like white rice and yuca which may not be nutrient dense but provides the sugar/glucose necessary without offering too much fructose or toxins like gluten.

079c9288506d6692b9ce6ab0e9b2bcac

(359)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Some (like Paul Jaminet) seem to think nutrient density is what food reward is all about (hyperpalatable foods might be excluded as having unique addictive properties). So the body is craving more food because it is craving nutrients not calories.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 28, 2012
at 04:55 AM

Hello Kurt! Good to hear from you!

079c9288506d6692b9ce6ab0e9b2bcac

(359)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:02 AM

@Namby Pamby Some (like Paul Jaminet) seem to think nutrient density is what food reward is all about (hyperpalatable foods might be excluded as having unique addictive properties). So the body is craving more food because it is craving nutrients not calories.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 03:55 AM

And I might suggest that your immune status, as as result of your delightfully dirty history, is what allowed your gut flora to rehabilitate.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 28, 2012
at 04:21 PM

@Dr Harris, I'd better plead guilty in advance but I spoke based on the quote in this question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/107830/only-starch-and-meat-diet#axzz1qQeXGTor I'll be more careful in future. Again, I agree about meat/starch being the core diet but I feel the other foods are beneficial as well.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 28, 2012
at 02:57 PM

@Dr Harris, my "yes, but" is that people are claiming you advocate eating only meat and starch--I'm saying the greens, etc., feed the gut. And even with my robust immune system I'm very sensitive to food additives and scents, etc. I haven't been sick (other than from testing wheat) in a year but I could easily select a meal of junk food that would make me feel like crap for 3 days.

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 03:54 AM

Where is the yes, but?? I am saying that the immune status of your body is more INDEPENDENT of diet than the standard paleo line. Your ability to expand and eat a more varied diet precisely supports the point I am trying to make. I believe your tolerance for food is determined by gut health and immune status more than food choices determine gut health and immune status. Paleo dogma has is the other way round... I've not once said anything about nutrient density, maybe you are thinking of someone else?

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 06:12 PM

Nance. It's hard to just write about things with the hazard that someone might construct a whole diet on a just a few sentences. No harm done, thanks for your support.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 28, 2012
at 04:28 PM

@Dr Harris, I really do know better because I've read a lot of your posts and you do recommend/follow a varied, practical regimen. I understand your frustration and apologize. Please keep communicating!

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 03:52 PM

When did I say you must eat anything in particular, much less only meat and starch? I have always emphasized avoiding just a few bad things and then eating whatever you want. I only once commented that I thought starchy veggies are more historically "paleo" than greens, which is true. I never said not to eat greens. I eat them myself all the time!

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:59 PM

Sean Abbott, I don't think so. If that were the case, you'd crave kale, not hot fudge sundae. True, no one craves kale. But you would and be instantly satiated. That's not the case. Kale basically tastes like random leaves of grass. Also, white rice is pretty satiating, even though it's pretty much empty calories.

4
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 29, 2012
at 05:54 AM

I love the gut health. I want a new PaNu blog post. :-)

3
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 28, 2012
at 05:16 AM

Fecal transplant, anyone? No, seriously, this kind of makes sense. Recent research has shown that T2 diabetes is linked to gut microbes (the same ones that cause ulcers). http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/03/14/diabetes-linked-to-ulcer-causing-bacteria/

Perhaps instead of diet - fats or sugars or SAD - the escalating problem with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, you name it can be blamed on hyper-hygienic parenting, disinfectant soaps, an obsession with cleanliness, overuse of antibiotics in infants and small children (and the population in general) and an increase in cesearian births?

Dare I suggest (again) that it's the microbiome that's in charge here? Maybe it's a survival of the fittest kind of thing? We mess with them too much, they kill us off. We have to think long term strategy here. I think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg. And I'm not talking about lettuce.

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6259)

on March 28, 2012
at 02:24 PM

But SAD changes the gut microbiome for the worse!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 28, 2012
at 06:14 AM

But then there's always the Pima indians. Who were fine until they started eating SAD.

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on March 28, 2012
at 07:12 PM

Gotchya. I understand completely. I guess the only trouble is that most people don't have the time, capabilities, or interest to become an expert on such matters. And even if they think they know what they're doing, they could still screw up. Perhaps in the future we'll have fecal transplant pills for sale at the local pharmacy, just like probiotics. I hope.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on March 28, 2012
at 07:59 PM

@Gydle, good call on the "there are just too many of us, frankly." It's the 6.8 billion lb (and counting) gorilla in the room. http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_pop_totl&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=world+population#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=sp_pop_totl&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&ifdim=region&tdim=true&tstart=-308088000000&tend=1269748800000&hl=en_US&dl=en

87f26cf235a0e2420e28779113b0257b

on March 28, 2012
at 06:58 PM

rodger. This is why I am offering nothing prescriptive, despite the whining from people like Bruno. To take one example, eating dirty vegetables could easily give you a parasite meant for another species that could blind you or otherwise make you seriously ill. DO NOT MESS AROUND WITH THIS CONCEPT UNLESS YOU HAVE DONE YOUR OWN WORK TO THE POINT OF BEING YOUR OWN EXPERT. For now I am just trying to get people to reconsider the idea that paleo DIETS are the most and best you can do to "heal" the immune system.

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on March 28, 2012
at 04:58 PM

" We have to think long term strategy here." I agree. I get it. Paleo won't fix the microbiome. Can we start talking about what *does* work? Dirty vegetables, fecal transplants? Dangerous territory, but perhaps we should stop ignoring them.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 28, 2012
at 07:36 PM

In a span of just 3-4 generations we have gone from family farm to factory farm, and I think this is hugely important. Raw milk from your cow and eggs from your chickens and the hog you feed your scraps and butcher in your back yard resemble in NO recognizable way what is sold in supermarkets as "food." As the world becomes more urbanized this problem is only going to get worse. I think we need to look very carefully at how food is produced for all these people. THere are just too many of us, frankly.

1
F10f0f407c8c18f9584fa6b164f39d20

on March 29, 2012
at 05:30 AM

So why the deletion of comments you don't like, Melissa? Because you'd rather Kurt's view of the Livin' La Vida Low Cred empire not gain any serious traction? Or maybe you're a closest Jimmy Moore fangirl? The former is alarming enough; the latter just scary.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2012
at 05:59 AM

I'm just going to leave this up because it's so hilarious.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2012
at 06:02 AM

I'll just leave this one up because it's so funny.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2012
at 06:01 AM

EatLessMoveMoore has been trolling PH posting totally irrelevant "answers" that are just attacks on Jimmy Moore. And then accusing me of loving Jimmy Moore and hating Kurt Harris. That last part is just kind of hilarious and will elicit laughs from anyone who actually follows my work or my writing on this site 0_o

F10f0f407c8c18f9584fa6b164f39d20

on March 29, 2012
at 09:45 PM

Ah, the lovely Melissa...queen of snark. There was nothing 'troll-like' about my comment(s). I was attempting to make a serious point, and I certainly never claimed you 'hated' Kurt Harris. I think your motivations are more subtle - as they are, probably, for this community at large. Either way, as things stand the orthodox 'low carb' movement (such as it is these days) is attempting to co-opt ancestral health (however one wishes to define it). Burying our heads in the sand and pretending it isn't happening will do no good. But whatever...don't want to be a troll, now do I?

F10f0f407c8c18f9584fa6b164f39d20

on March 31, 2012
at 08:39 PM

Fair enough....

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 31, 2012
at 05:30 PM

I was the person who first starting warning about this! But please stay on topic in questions and refrain from just plain old nastiness. You are making me look nice, that is a bad thing since I am not nice at all. Believe me, I want to write that kind of stuff too, but we have to stay somewhat civil here or it will become a moderation nightmare.

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