Why Carnivore Didn’t Work for You, Part 2: Electrolytes

Salt up, sweetie!

By far the most common complaints I hear from someone when they begin carnivore or keto are these:

  • cramping
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • flu-like muscle aches
  • heart pounding or flutters

These are all symptoms of electrolyte loss, which is thankfully very easy to fix!

When you switch to a low-carb or zero-carb way of eating, you no longer retain fluid the way you do when you’re a sweet-eater. The first thing you notice when you finally get into ketosis is that you pee. A LOT. In fact, that first heady weight-loss success of 10-15 pounds in two weeks is mostly just water! I’m sorry to break it to you, but the fat loss doesn’t come immediately. It’s water loss that has you all excited. And rightly so! You shouldn’t have been holding on to all that water. It’s making you puffy and not benefitting you at all, locked away like that.

Carbohydrates cause your body to lock water away in your cells, and with it, salts and minerals. As you begin to burn more fat than sugar, the retained water flushes out of your system, taking with it (mainly) your sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Your body has been used to doing one thing, and now it has to learn to do another. This comes with symptoms, unless you do something about it. Attention should be paid in the first several weeks of your new way of eating to getting enough salt (mainly), and very likely a magnesium and potassium supplement as well.

But salt is bad for you!

Well…no. Cutting back on salt is one of the worst ideas modern medicine has pushed. While there are apparently a small number of people for whom a very large amount of salt really does cause high blood pressure, most people need more salt, not less. Even those salt-sensitive people will probably be able to use normal amounts of salt when they cut out the sugar. It is that other white crystal we love to consume that is causing the outrageous epidemic of high blood pressure: sugar. Cut your sugar, and your “high” salt intake will be perfectly benign. Beneficial, even! James DiNicolantonio’s book, The Salt Fix, is a very good primer on the subject:

How much salt, though? Well, all I can say for sure is: be liberal about it. Salt your food to taste. Put a pinch of salt in your water when you drink. Drink clean electrolyte drinks like LMNT or Myoxcience’s Stix. If you have symptoms, have even more salt. If you have too much salt, you will simply feel thirsty and drink more water.

I like to buy electrolyte powders for hot days, or when I’m doing a lot of hard physical activity, but most of the time, they’re a treat, rather than a necessity. They can get a little bit expensive. You don’t have to spend that kind of money. Just put some salt, and maybe some no-salt into your water. Add a daily magnesium for a few weeks, as well, at least until the symptoms are long gone. After you’re “fat adapted”, you may never need to take further measures, and you’ll just instinctively eat the amount of salt you need. Some people find after a while that they need to eat no salt at all, while others, like me, are still salt-fiends. For now, though, assume you need more salt.

Can I have too much salt? There’s very little risk of overdose, unless you’re being ridiculous. You’re not going to be ridiculous are you? Remember the woman who drank too much water too fast and died? You can overdose on anything. But if you’re being sensible and not eating a tablespoon of salt at a time, ten times a day, you are not going to hurt yourself.

Just be a little bit, maybe a lot, more deliberately salty, and you’ll be fine. Don’t let “keto flu”, which is temporary, if unpleasant, stop you from getting healthy! Salt up!

Why Didn’t Carnivore or Keto “Work” For Me?

Isn’t it supposed to be the optimal way to eat?

Since I began coaching people in the carnivore/keto way of eating, I’ve heard a lot of wonderful success stories. I’ve seen migraine patients drastically reduce their frequency of headaches, and a couple have reported that they are completely pain-free. I’ve seen hundreds of pounds of weight lost. I’ve seen people get off blood pressure and (type 2) diabetes medication. I’ve seen anxiety disorders improve. Everything that I have experienced in my own health, I have also seen happen to others through my coaching. I enjoy the face time I get with my clients. It fills a need in my life that I didn’t even know I had. Nothing makes me happier than getting a call back from somebody and hearing about the ten more pounds lost, or the skin condition cleared up. I help people! I’m feeling pretty good about this gig!

But there have been a couple of “failures”, as well. For better or worse, I’ll often talk to a client once, and then have little follow-up because they don’t need further help. They just hopped right in and got better. These cases don’t bother me. That’s a good thing, even if it does mean I don’t get another paycheck. It also means that I have no idea how things go for some people. They just don’t get back to me at all, and I’m left wondering how it went. Thankfully, the people who do not do well often come back, even if it’s just to explain to me why they’re not doing the diet anymore. The criticism and explanations help me far more than they probably intend to, given that they’re basically just venting their frustrations before they walk away.

I don’t view these cases as failures of the diet, because physiologically, it just doesn’t make sense that the diet wouldn’t help pretty much anybody. Nor are they failures in the client. I view them, rather, as failures in my coaching for those (literally 2) clients of mine who found they couldn’t make it work. There are others who have “failed” who I haven’t coached, but who–kindly or otherwise–emailed to let me know I was full of beans.

To be clear, I don’t think everybody needs to be fully carnivorous in their eating. While we are all built to the same basic plan, everybody’s coming from a different background, and with different current needs. When somebody doesn’t want to do carnivore, unless I can see that they have an obvious problem with all plants the way I do, I help them think about other ways of eating, targeting those foods and patterns of behavior that are most likely to be causing harm to them.

Carnivore is a way of thinking about food, not a religion. 

I have counseled low-carb athletes to incorporate some easy-to-digest carbs for performance. I personally have not gone that route, and found that I have some limits because I’m not willing to do that. That’s fine. My clients and I have different goals. I have had one metabolically healthy woman add fruit back to her diet because she just couldn’t get her electrolytes straight any other way. The first few years of carnivore were perfect for her, but she had reached the end of her need for restriction and needed to experiment a little bit for the next step. Do I think there may have been a more carnivorous way to solve her problem? Sure! But having some fruit and veg when sugar and fiber aren’t a problem for you is not the end of the world, so that’s what she did.

I do think most people need to at least be in ketosis a good portion of their day, so I always, always steer people to the low carb side of things. While there is an amount of carbohydrate that a healthy person can handle, people who come to me aren’t usually that healthy yet. Even when they are, the amount they are able to tolerate isn’t nearly as much as they’d often like to consume once they get started. Carbs make you eat more carbs. It’s just the nature of the beast. The cases I spoke of above are two unusual cases out of many.

So why didn’t carnivore “work” for you? This post is an introduction to several more that I hope will help you troubleshoot what went wrong when you tried to change your diet. Hopefully these posts will also help people new to the diet never encounter these problems to begin with. If you’re a newb, read them all before you jump in. Carnivore or meat-based ketogenic eating is very simple, and doing it should be as easy as falling off a log. Unfortunately, we’re usually coming at this from a life of dysfunction, whether physical, social, or mental, and we get tripped up. If you have any diet-related problems at all–and if you’ve been eating the typical Western diet, you do–it is well worth trying more than once, even if you have “failed” in the past.

Do You Need Supplements with a Carnivore Diet?

I died of scurvy last year. Twice.

I was looking through some old posts the other day and saw an old comment I’d ignored at the time.

Do you take vitamin supplements? How do you keep from getting malnourished or even gout?
Just curious. Love the idea of steak for breakfast, pricey though.

I was asked the same thing just a couple of days ago, and the day before that, and a few weeks before that. I get it all the time. The simple answer, and the one I usually give, is this:

There is nothing in plants that you need that you can’t get more efficiently and completely from meat. (By the way, steak isn’t that expensive when you don’t eat the sides.) The only thing plants have that meat does not–sugar, fiber, anti-nutrients, that vegan sense of moral superiority–are things you don’t need anyway, and many which you may be better off without. Especially that last.

That’s my story, and I am sticking to it. It’s a nice, pat, accurate answer, as far as it goes. But as with most things in life, it can get a little more complicated than that. And that is what blogs are for.

So, what about scurvy? What about anti-oxidants? What about eating the rainbow?

Usually, Vitamin C is at the forefront of people’s minds when thinking of the potential pitfalls of a carnivorous diet. As far as I can tell, there has not been one documented case of scurvy in a strict carnivore. Contrary to popular belief–and most beliefs about food in our culture are merely popular, not accurate–muscle meat does have a small amount of C in it. It’s not a lot, compared to some plants, but because cellular uptake of vitamin C is inhibited by hyperglycemia,  when you’re not spiking your blood sugar all day long, year after year, your cells don’t have any problems utilizing whatever amount of ascorbic acid you you do take in.

Most of the vitamin C found in that much-vaunted morning glass of “healthy” orange juice goes into the toilet, not your cells, because of all the sugar that rides along with it hindering absorption. You’ll still absorb some, but ironically, without the sugary fruit delivery system, you don’t need the massive amounts of C found in the fruit to stay healthy.

Also, as Sally K. Norton explains,

The body tends to metabolize excess vitamin C into a corrosive acid called oxalic acid. This acid immediately steals minerals like calcium as it becomes oxalate. As the kidneys remove oxalate from the blood, calcium oxalate can grow into crystals in the kidneys or elsewhere in the urinary tract causing painful stones. Over time, if the kidneys are forced to handle excessive amounts of oxalate everyday, kidney failure is likely. This is how taking 500 mg or more of vitamin C can promote a loss of kidney function. Perhaps the modern habit of taking extra vitamin C is contributing to the rising rates of kidney stones. One estimate suggests that half of us will get a kidney stone in our lifetime.

So maybe you don’t want your Vitamin C all that high, anyway.

I do think it’s nice that the Lord put the huge amounts of ascorbic acid into the same fruits that inhibit your ascorbic acid absorption, don’t you? Kinda balances things out a little. But you don’t have to drink OJ to get your C boost. At best, it somewhat mitigates through the vitamin C the damage that can be caused by the sugar. At worst, when you’re really insulin resistant, OJ can’t even overcome its own sugary downside.

But C isn’t the only concern, of course. What about all those other vitamins and micro-nutrients in plants? What about the superfoods I feel so good about putting on my plate?

Well, I hate to break it to you, friend, but “superfood” is a marketing buzzword, not a real thing. All of the nutrients found in plants are there for the sake of the plant, and are bound up in ways that the human body doesn’t easily break down into something usable for itself. I’m not saying that there’s zero benefit from these plants. Clearly you are able to get some nutrition from plants. Vegans don’t die immediately. In fact, they can live a long time in an increasingly miserable state. But the amount of, say, Vitamin A that your body can synthesize from the beta carotene found in a carrot is miniscule compared to the amount of already-bioavailable Vitamin A that you’ll get from meat.

Unlike us, the animals we eat are able to extract a great deal of the available nutrition found in plants because they are designed to do that. (Now wait, Christian. Aren’t humans designed to be vegetarians, like in the Garden of Eden? Find my answer to that here.)

Because of the lower animals’ unique digestive tracts, especially ruminant animals, which I think should be a very large percentage of food consumed, carnivores are getting better and more vitamins from animal products. Plant foods are simply sub-optimal compared to the easy-to-absorb nutrition found in meat, which our high-acid stomachs are incredibly efficient at processing.

There are multi-decade carnivores who have eaten nothing but meat, no supplements at all, and are running circles around those of us who have been on a Standard American Diet for the same amount of time. I have no reason to disbelieve these people when they say they don’t take supplements. I can personally attest, nearly six years in, that I feel great and don’t yet show any signs of malnourishment while consuming about 99% of my calories as muscle meat.

But there is a place for mineral and Vitamin D supplementation. It is likely that everybody, including people who think they’re doing just fine, could benefit from supplementation of iodine and magnesium, to name my big two. Plant-eaters have the same problem that meat-eaters do, in this regard. Eating your super-foods won’t help you here, as your body is not very good at extracting even those nutrients that are in your precious kale.

Depending on the location and method of farming, the soils our crops and livestock feed are grown in are likely deficient in a number of minerals. What’s not in the soil, or not absorbable from the soil by the plant because of farming methods and genetic tinkering, cannot pass into the plants, or into the animals and humans that eat them. Inland soil is not going to have a lot of iodine, which comes from sea water. Pretty much all farmed soil is depleted of magnesium at this point. I think everybody ought to be taking at least those two mineral supplements, though I admit I neglect to do so most of the time. There are other mineral supplements that might be useful, based on symptoms and individual circumstances.

And of course, there’s Vitamin D. I do think you can maintain your D levels with enough meat and enough sunshine, but good luck getting enough sunshine, office workers! I like to sunbathe during the late spring and through the summer, but I supplement with vitamin D+K2 for the rest of the year. There is some D to be found in animal products, but the sun is the big stimulator of vitamin D production. Most people do not live in a latitude that provides adequate sunshine, nor do they often go outdoors long enough every day to obtain it even if they do.

Now, maybe you don’t believe me that you don’t need plants to be healthy. I don’t blame you. It’s just not something you’ve ever even imagined before, is it? You’ve been told all your life that you have to eat your carrots to have good eyesight. You have to have your fruit to keep from catching colds or worse. You have to eat your Vitamin F (fiber) or you won’t be able to poop!

You’ve been told a lot of lies, Dear Reader. I understand why this is hard to get past.I had a really hard time letting go of my leafy greens, to be honest. But I’m not eating them anymore, and guess what? I’m better for it, not worse. I have an OCD called trichotillomania (hair-pulling) that goes away 100% as long as I don’t ingest any fiber. I can eat leafy greens for the (largely indigestible) vitamins in there, or I can just eat meat and have eyebrows and eyelashes. I certainly wasn’t looking for this particular benefit when I went carnivore, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Try it sometime for a minimum of 6-8 weeks or so. Really give it the old college try. You might find relief from some symptom or quirk about yourself that you just thought was a cross you’d have to bear forever. At any rate, don’t let the idea that you’ll be malnourished stop you from finding a better way to eat than a high-carb diet.

I am more convinced with every passing year that I do this that meat is sufficient for all of those needs.

I can help with this, by the way, if you’d like diet and lifestyle coaching. Email me at cindy at getalonghome.com or find me on social media and we’ll set up a call. Want to discuss this post? Find me at MeWe, Gab, or Social Galactic.




Meat is Not Jesus

It won’t save you.

I spend a lot of time touting the benefits of a meat-heavy diet. I really, really believe in the carnivore and keto way of life! I believe in it so much that I’m spending what little free time I have coaching others on how to change their own dietary habits. While I try to respect other people’s food choices, I’m not at all shy about sharing information with people who appear to be open to it. You might even say I’m a carnivore evangelist. Being a preacher’s daughter, I guess that’s a role I can feel comfortable with.

I haven’t been coaching people on diet for very long at all, but I have spent some time informally helping people in my real life and online figure out how to get to a healthier place with their food. A friend of mine wanted to try carnivore, and I was curious as to what specific issues he was dealing with.

“What do you hope to get out of a carnivore diet?”

“I just want to be happy and well-adjusted like the Petersons.”

Oh, dear. Oh, dearie me.

I often hear names like Jordan B. Peterson and Joe Rogan brought up by carnivores– usually secular ones–as the luminaries who brought them to the Meat Side. Now, I don’t care how a person finds out about carnivore. It’s the best thing to do, no matter why you’re doing it. But I do worry that people who listen to these sources are not just expecting health, but an entire shift in their spiritual condition, just by eating meat. After all, would they even be listening to JBP if they had any discernment at all?

There is a great deal of mental help in carnivore! Let there be no doubt about that. I honestly doubt that Jordan Peterson has adhered very strictly to the diet at all, but perhaps he has. He’s still a basket-case. No well-adjusted man cries as freely as he does. And his daughter has certainly healed her auto-immune disease and her mental state, as well, by eating beef, and only beef. She’s doing very well, but she’s still a hot mess in some other ways, to put it in as non-gossipy a way as possible. Joe Rogan has toyed with the diet and interviewed some carnivore guests, and I’m told he attests to the value of the diet even though he’s not a strict adherent. But he’s literally consorting with demons, OK?

I have myself resolved all sorts of internal angst, the kind that is physically triggered by food, through first keto, then carnivore eating. I highly recommend Dr. Chris Palmer’s book Brain Energy, which gives as good an explana­tion as I’ve seen for why so many who suffer from mental illness find relief with a ketogenic diet. I think there’s probably more to be said about the gut micro-biome, gut permeability, and the vagus nerve, which communicates between the gut and the brain. Brain Energy is nevertheless a ground-breaking book. It focuses more on the ketones than a lot of other things that I think are going on, but explains a great deal. Whatever the reason, keto works. Carnivore works.

I want to say this loud and clear, lest I be found wanting on Judgment Day for failing to give the real credit where it is due:

If you cure all of your irrational fears, all of your anxieties, all of your mental and social dysfunctions, but you still don’t have Jesus, you still have nothing. You might even act like a nicer person, mistreat others less often, or harm yourself less often, but you’re still in your sin.

Conversely, when I had OCD, social phobia, depression, and general anxiety, but I had Jesus, I had everything already.

Now, I know what a skeptic would say here: If Jesus was so great for you, why did it take a dietary change to fix all these things?

If I ascend up into the heavens, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there psalm 139: 8

I don’t know the mind of God, of course, but His word gives me a clue. He let me make my bed in Hell so that he could  show His power to come to me there. Through my weakness I can say right along with the Apostle Paul that:

…there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

–2 Corinthians 12:-8

You can read my testimony here, if you care for more background.

While I was having a difficult time with some aspects of life, I was learning to lean on Jesus. I asked for healing, but to no avail. Or so I thought. Looking back, I can see that what looked like a dark, gloomy pit was really a quiet nest in which a baby Christian could develop, sheltered from many of the assaults of the world which I likely would not have been proof against, had I found out about the carnivore diet while I was still spiritually weak.

To an unbeliever, this must certainly sound foolish, but I wouldn’t trade my years of mental difficulty for all the meat-induced calm in the world, because Jesus shone into my darkness in a way that I think few have experienced.  Could God have made me all better all at once? Sure! But I needed to be where I was.

For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

–Hebrews 12:6-12

Not only does it not bother me that I didn’t find a path to health for so long, I am grateful for it.

There’s a lot I would never have learned, had my life been immediately made as anxiety-free as it now is. I wouldn’t have been as useful to the work He had for me to do, then or now, had I not gone through a crucible suited to my particular metal. I am undoubtedly a more relaxed person with carnivore, but I am not more joyful. I am not a better person because I eat meat.

I just wanted to take a minute from my meat-boosting to praise the One who really saves. I get uncomfortable if I go too long between reminders that it’s all Jesus.

Submit to the One who created you. Give thanks to Him and bless His name.

Have Thine own way, Lord,
Have Thine own way;
Thou art the Potter,
I am the clay.
Mould me and make me
After Thy will,
While I am waiting,
Yielded and still.

Dairy-Free Cloud Bread

Every low carb eater has a cloud-bread recipe. I don’t claim any originality or superiority for this one. They all turn out basically the same, to be honest. This recipe makes a bigger batch for a bigger family (or just a bigger appetite). Most people use cream cheese, but we have to work around dairy sensitivities, so this a dairy-free version.

Dairy-free Cloud Bread

A light bread substitute for the carb-conscious
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Servings: 8


  • hand mixer
  • parchment or silicone mats


  • 8 eggs separated
  • 8 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder (optional)


  • Heat the oven to 325°
  • Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl until stiff. It is important to use clean beaters. The whites won't stiffen if you contaminate them with other ingredients, so don't neglect to do this step first.
  • Mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate large bowl.
  • Spoon about 1/4 of the egg white foam into the yolk mixture, then gently fold (do not beat!) in until the mixture is homogenous. Repeat until all of the white is blended with the yolk.
  • Drop 1/4 cup dollops of the batter onto cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper. I usually need three pans for this amount of batter.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until set and golden brown.

I sometimes miss sandwiches, and find that this bread does a pretty good job filling in for the bread. It’s not 100% carnivore, but I make occasional allowances for avocado or coconut oils. If you do carnivore with dairy, substitute cream cheese for the mayo, and you can stay purely carnivore. If you do it without dairy, I’d bet bacon grease would do the trick. Omit the salt if you’re going to do that. I may try this and get back to you.

I recently made egg breakfast sandwiches with mayonnaise. Egg and mayo on egg and mayo. It works, okay?



Plain Food

Healthy kids.

One of my teenagers recently told me of a conversation with his coworker. He was talking about our family’s food habits, and told her that I often serve plain, crumbled ground beef with no seasonings.

“That’s child abuse!”

Now, first of all, it’s not like I’m forbidding my children the use of all seasonings. Salt and butter they have in abundance, and they can usually have salsa, sour cream, worcestershire sauce, or several other condiments they like. But we do eat a fair amount of undressed, un-sauced food, and I do this very intentionally. It is not out of laziness, or meanness, or even because I’m a bad cook. I serve most of our food unadorned out of a sincere belief that this will teach my children to have a healthy relationship with food.

When I first started eating a ketogenic diet, I went into it with the mindset that this diet was just for me, because of my particular health problems. I was still stuck in my old way of thinking, brought on by frequent contact with Western medicine, that my problems were genetic, irreversible, and unique to me, so I didn’t feel that there was a need to drag my perfectly healthy (or so I thought) children along for the ride. I was just trying to keep my blood sugar under control, not change the world.

I continued to make the family’s usual “healthy” foods and just made a little something different for myself. But as I delved more into the topic, and especially as I began to go fully carnivore, the realization set in that sugar wasn’t even the main reason I shouldn’t be eating plants. I began to understand that the principles I was applying to my own health could and should be applied to the health of every human being. I had thought at first that keto/carnivore was going to be just a me thing, but I saw after several months that I didn’t just look better. Not only did I have better blood-glucose levels, but all kinds of health problems had become faint memories, rather than daily realities.

Joint pain, brain fog, anxiety, social phobia, trichotillomania, hidradenitis supprativa, asthma, eczema, seasonal allergies, and probably a whole bunch of other stuff I’ve just plain forgotten were all GONE. (I still sneeze a little during ragweed season.)

Having realized that, I began to accept that my children were also having some of the same problems I was, and likely for the same reasons. Were they really doing fine, as I’d thought? One of my children had the trifecta of allergies, asthma, and eczema, as well as the disturbing beginnings of an OCD (brought on by a viral infection). Another had been showing symptoms of IBS for at least a year. We had already discovered long ago that still another child loses all symptoms and behaviors of autism as long as we don’t include grains and dairy in that child’s diet. What else might I be able to do for them with an appropriate diet?

Seeing all of this, I couldn’t any longer keep my children on even a “healthy” normal diet. While I didn’t take them all fully carnivore, I did begin to make all of their meals heavily meat-based. I allow them no more than two servings a day of either fruit or a starchy vegetable. They can have some leafy greens, though not kale or spinach. I eliminated grains, seed oils, and all refined carbohydrates completely, allowing for seeds and nuts or beans once a week, and only for the children who tolerate them well. For the two with the most obvious problems, we went 100% carnivore for a time. Both of those children are able to incorporate only small amounts of some “safer” plants, though still not daily.

It’s pretty restrictive, and we’re fine with that.

Now, I know (or hope, at least) that my son’s coworker was joking when she proclaimed our plain fare to be actual child abuse. But let me tell you what looks a lot more like child abuse to me:

  • 8 year-olds who weigh 150 pounds
  • teenagers with Type II diabetes
  • children who can’t go more than an hour without begging for a snack
  • children who can’t behave themselves because of food colorings, sugar highs, malabsorption of nutrients, and proteins that are incompatible with the human gut

That, and not thoughtful application of dietary principles, is child abuse. I am certainly not accusing parents themselves (most of them, anyway) of abuse, but our overall food culture is abusive. Because of dishonest science, hatred of self-discipline, and the greed of big food corporations, nobody knows how to eat, or even that food has an impact on all areas of health. That is an absolute shame, and we have to put an end to it. Now, once a person knows he should do something, and doesn’t do it, we might begin to put the blame on that person. It might become abuse, or at least neglect, if a bad situation is allowed to continue.

The foods that I used to serve my children were very tasty. I took a lot of pride in being a good cook. In fact, I inadvertently did to my children with my “healthy home cooking” the exact same thing that wicked big food corporations are still trying to do to all of us. By introducing the biggest and best flavors I could manage–every day, nearly every meal–I was spoiling their palates and their health, and (much worse) setting them up for food addictions later in life.

Hyper-palatability is that quality of sweetness, saltiness, and fat that processed (even home-processed) foods possess. When we eat these foods, that powerful combination of flavor and mouthfeel bypass all hunger and satiety signals that our hormones send when we are hungry or full, causing us to both overeat, and eat the wrong food. Food corporations spend millions, maybe billions, on research finding the best ways to keep customers eating long past the point of satiety, and to keep us coming back for more. Even though the body’s nutritional needs are not being met by these foods, our entire bodies wantonly crave them, and reject plain food in favor of that dopamine high. There’s a word for this. It’s called addiction. My constant attempts to please the palates of my family were creating raging addicts in my home. I had to face that fact and do a hard thing.

I know that sounds like hyperbole, but it is not. They actually acted like a bunch of little addicts when I stopped letting them have the candy and gold fish crackers! They were somewhat depressed, unhappy with everything I fed them for a while, and though they are typically well-behaved, there were a some bad attitudes for a while. Thankfully, it didn’t take them long to adapt. They are children, after all, and very impressionable. After a few months of eating real food, not too fancy, they learned to reject (for the most part) foods that do not nourish them. Kids do want to do what is good for them, but we have to enable them to do it by removing the stumbling blocks in their way.

Don’t we ever have fun with our food? Sure! Our family does still occasionally have food that can be considered hyper-palatable, like this keto or carnivore pizza or carnivore waffles. But I keep these things mostly to special occasions. There’s nothing wrong with having a treat every now and then, but to expect every meal to hit all of those pleasure buttons in our brains is gluttony. Dare I use such a harsh word to describe probably most of the people who are reading this blog? Yes, I do.

American, you’re most likely enjoying your food a little too much, and a little too often. That is gluttony.

Do your children a favor, moms and dads: Give them plain food 95% of the time. Salt it, of course! We actually need salt. But use sauces and seasonings less frequently, and get the processed foods out of your house entirely. It is a hard lesson to learn, but teach your children to be content with meat that just tastes like meat, fruit that just tastes like fruit, and veggies that just taste like veggies. I can promise that if you do this, you will be improving not only your children’s overall health, but their behavior and moods, and even their emotional connection with you and each other. Far too many children who appear healthy but have behavioral issues are struggling because they just don’t have the energy to fully engage.

Help them.

You might fear a mutiny if you do what I did, but you are the parent. They can’t drive themselves to the store and override your decisions. (Well, a couple of mine could have, actually.) If you do not give in to the addictions that you have created, it won’t be long before the crying is over, and your children accept that this is just how it is for your family. I know you love your children. I know how much I loved mine when I was feeding them the exact same way! Now put as much thought and effort into their nutrition as you do into every other aspect of their lives.

If you find that you need help with a transition to a healthier (not necessarily carnivore) diet for your family, get in touch with me on SG or MeWe and I’ll send you a link to my diet coaching page. Or just shoot me your questions and I’ll get to them directly if at all possible.



Health First, Then Fitness

“I want to be healthy like you, but you RUN and LIFT! I can’t do that. It hurts too much.”

About a year ago, a beloved friend of mine said this while we were talking about nutrition and health. (I promise I do talk about other things sometimes.) She has the same health problems that fully 80% of the American population now have to some extent, namely metabolic damage. She can’t run. Of course she can’t! She’s sick! But this idea that you have to work out to become healthy (or slender, which often, but not always, amounts to the same thing) is completely backwards. You have to become healthy to be able to do these things!

If it makes you feel like this, don’t do it. Yet.

Sometimes I want to quit running and strength training, or at least keep it a deep, dark secret from everyone who knows me. That’s not because I’m ashamed of my activities or because I don’t enjoy it, but because people think that it’s the sport that made me healthy and slender. They see me doing these hard (for them) things, and they just about give up any hope of becoming healthy. They know they can’t do these things right now. In fact, if somebody had told me six years ago that I would be running 5ks and strength training most mornings, before I even ate breakfast, I would have said the same thing: That is impossible! I’d be miserable!

And I’d have been right.

It’s important to build muscle and endurance. I’m not saying it’s not! Physical activity commensurate with the level of health you have is an absolute must for maintaining that health! But the fact remains that I didn’t do any exercise at all to get healthy…not at first, at least. I exercise because I’m healthy. I think that’s the difference between being healthy and being fit. We talk about health and fitness as if they were the same thing, but fitness is impossible without health, while it is possible to be healthy and still somewhat out of shape. When you are metabolically or otherwise sick, it is necessary to recover your health before you can add fitness. I had lost 60 lbs. before it ever occurred to me to put on a pair of running shoes. Thank God for that, because if I had tried to exercise my way to health, I would have most likely failed. When I got well through dietary and other changes, my body suddenly demanded that I do something more with it. That’s when I started to get fit. I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing, because I’d have lost my mind having all that energy coursing through my body with no outlet.

There’s a phenomenon of energy wasting known to nutrition researchers called Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis whereby, when you give a person extra energy from food, they will “waste” that energy, even when at rest. They’ll tap their feet, fidget, get up and pace more often, maybe yell at the kids a little bit more than usual. (I’m kidding about that last…sorta.) This energy wasting is not conscious. It is your body naturally using up what energy you give it. That is why I run, and why I do strength training, and hike and bike and roller skate, and every other active thing that presents itself. It is because I’m well!

It’s not just food, either. Your clean environment, your consistent sleep schedule, your stress-management, all of these things are how you attain the health required to be fit. And all of these other changes in lifestyle are possible by conscious choice, unlike exercise, so you need to focus on those things long before you think of deadlifting. If I need a recovery day, as all humans do, no matter how fit, there is no pep-talk or mental trick in the world that can make me do a PR. It is simply not possible that day. Likewise, if you have poor metabolic functioning, you simply can’t ask your body to perform as if you didn’t. Do the necessary conscious changes, and physical activity will follow of its own accord.

Getting exercise is incredibly important. It helps me maintain all of those other areas of wellness.  If I’m not active enough, I don’t fall asleep early enough. Getting in a morning run helps me burn fat the entire rest of the day. Bigger muscles are important for glucose regulation. I would be miserable if I didn’t exercise, and your not exercising is, in fact, part of why you are miserable.

Physical activity is not last in importance to your health, but it has to come last in the timeline. Not first. Forget about running for a while, if you are in the initial stages of getting healthy. When you are unwell, pushing your body to the edge of exhaustion, trying to do what the already-healthy people are able to do, is just ticking down an already slow clock.

Do something, though. Walk more. Get a step counter and find out how many steps you take in a normal day, then add a few hundred steps to your goal every week until you’re doing at least 8,000-10,000 steps per day. Lift a little bit of extra weight. Pick up a gallon jug of something and curl your biceps with it a few times, or press it over your head. Do a squat or five at your desk periodically through the day. Toddlers make great sandbags for squats! Learn some bodyweight exercises.

Work on your muscle tone and endurance in small ways while working on your general health in a BIG way, and you’ll find yourself easing into a life of increased activity as you gradually improve your health.

But don’t try to spend all of your reserves on energy-wasting activities, thinking that it will help you get healthy. You need what energy you have to do your normal day-to-day activities. Don’t waste that. Get healthy before you try to bust your butt at the gym. Work on diet, stress, sunlight, and sleep. Clean the processed foods and seed oils from your diet. Get all the plants out of your diet, even. As a carnivore coach, I can help you figure out how to make a ketogenic or carnivore diet work for you. Eat right, live clean, and then give it time.

You will eventually start to move more as if by magic. You will be fit. Exercise won’t be a chore that ruins the entire rest of your day, if you just get healthy first.

Why I Quit Coffee


I’ve been back and forth on this topic for at least a year now, first eliminating coffee, then adding it back to my routine, deciding against it, then for, then against. With all of the mixed messages in the ever-manipulable and untrustworthy “science”, I couldn’t decide whether I believed coffee was truly bad or not. There are arguments for and against, and both sides sound eminently reasonable. In my last post about healing my thyroid, I said we’d talk about coffee another time, as it is less relevant to the thyroid than it is to other things. So here we are!

Friends on social media will be all too aware of my struggle to decide whether I do or don’t like coffee today, and probably will be relieved to hear that I won’t be vacillating on that anymore. If you see me drinking coffee from this point, you’ll know that I’ve ceased to care about my health and mood, and probably need a good talking-to. Considering what coffee does to my mood, though, you may want to send someone with a thick skin to do the talking.

Now, why? What have I got against this marvelous bean that everybody clings to as if it were life itself? 

Well, the first clue that it might not be the best thing for anybody is that everybody clings to it as if it were life itself. 

Addictions are–try and stay friendly with me here, coffee addicts–bad. Socially acceptable addictions may be the worst of all, because all of the addicts are encouraging each other right out in the open, without shame. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mentioned this or that ill effect I thought coffee was having on me, only to be strongly discouraged from doing anything about my problem by other addicts. They go to great lengths to send me the dozens of articles we’ve all seen about how coffee increases longevity, or helps with this ailment or that. When I read the literature behind the articles, though, the evidence is mixed, at best. I may be able to write some posts looking at these studies in depth sometime. When the kids are grown. Maybe.

(Our society’s coffee addiction is second only to our carbohydrate addiction, by the way. Tell people to cut carbs, and they will immediately turn to the food pyramid, the vegan quacks, grandma’s homespun wisdom, anything at all to make you stop telling them they have to put down the pasta and apple pie. The biggest problem I have with coffee, like many people have with carbs, is that I can’t moderate it. If I have “just a cup today”, my need will become “just a pot a day” within a couple of weeks. I do not like being ruled by anything, even if it’s something that is perfectly acceptable for other people. Carb addicts should think the same way about carbs. But I digress.)

Whatever the “science” may say about the benefits of coffee, I have gone through several cycles of testing things out for myself, and so should you. If you’re noticing problems, forget what some egghead said and do what you need to do to feel well.

Here’s what I notice when I drink coffee:

The first few days, one cup at a time, are great! I can run faster and farther. I can lift heavier. I want to write, talk, sing, dance, play! For about an hour after my cup, I have a minor but distinct edge over my un-caffeinated self of the day before. Then I slump for an hour or two, but I’m ok for the rest of the day. For the first few days or weeks of reintroducing coffee, that slump is bearable, and I only have that one cup.

After that honeymoon period, though, I’m utterly dependent. I’m no longer beating my un-caffeinated self at anything. I’m not fully awake until I have the coffee. I need the coffee just to be normal now. It’s no longer my super-power, but my crutch. I don’t just sag a little after that first cup wears off, I fall on my face. I don’t want to run or lift without it, and when I do, my performance is lackluster. My personality feels flat. I get a little headache. Then I can’t recover from my workout adequately without another cup. Next thing I know, I’m having to make myself cut the now-steady caffeine drip by noon, because I’m harming my sleep. When I look up and find that it’s 2 p.m., and I’m still sipping, I know it’s going to be a difficult night.

As far as my kids are concerned, the hardest part of the coffee habit is that it makes me jittery and cranky. Nobody wants a jittery and cranky mommy.

After a few days to a week of withdrawal symptoms, all of this goes away and I’m steady again. I still want to do all the wonderful things, but without the manic pressure to do it.

Hormones, man. What a drag.

Cortisol is commonly thought of as the “stress” hormone, but in reality, it is the wake-up-and-pay-attention hormone. (We could get into some other hormonal weeds here, like adrenaline and noradrenaline, but let’s keep it simple. If I’m a little bit inaccurate, it’s because I’m putting everything into the cortisol bucket for time’s sake.) Cortisol starts to rise shortly before you get out of bed, and continues to do so until midmorning. The problem with coffee in this context is that, while your body needs that cortisol to get going for the day, it emphatically does not need more than it is able to produce for itself. Coffee raises and artificially keeps elevated a hormone that needs to start coming down toward noon.

I’ve heard some biohacking “experts” say that coffee should be put off until late morning for the reason that you already have enough cortisol to get you through the morning, but you can use it to get over the late morning slump. But, for one thing, almost nobody is waiting until that time of day to have their first cup. For another, if your levels are naturally coming down midmorning, isn’t that because your body needs to shift to other modes for now? So I don’t think it’s a particularly healthy practice to wait for your natural “slump”, which probably is meant to trigger such trivial energy-seeking behaviors as eating and resting, to receive your boost of fake energy.

Coffee suppresses appetite. Wait!” you say. “I thought that was a good thing! We’re all fat because we eat too much. Appetite suppression is good!

No, I don’t think so. I no longer even recommend fasting to my friends and family who are trying to lose weight. Fasting works, of course. Don’t take me to be saying that it doesn’t. But it’s not the easiest, or the most humane, or the safest way to get healthy, and weight loss should be a secondary goal to health gain.

I didn’t even realize it until recently, but I was drinking coffee because it “helped” me skip breakfast. I always work out fasted, first thing in the morning. I just feel gross with food in my stomach while I’m trying to crush things. But now I’m eating immediately after the workout, instead of trying to push it until lunch or beyond.

For a long time intermittent fasting was something I thought I had to do to lose weight, or to keep it off. Now that I’m years into a carnivore diet, though, I find that I need to eat three good meals a day, and I tend to gain weight when I skip breakfast. The amount of food I eat doesn’t change, just the timing. A friend of mine mentioned to me just this week that having a meal a short time after rising can lower cortisol and actually help your weight stability. Of course it can! I had ignored this obvious truth in favor of the utterly disproven conventional wisdom that restricting calories, especially early in the day, is a recipe for success.

Man, it’s good to have smart friends, ain’t it?

And on top of that bit of bad thinking about meal timing, I was adding to the stress on my system by drinking coffee.

I think our appetites are out of whack because of what we eat, not how much. I do eat more often when I don’t have coffee. Because I’m eating the correct things, and the amount that my body intuitively asks for, I’m not putting on weight eating all three meals a day. I’m just getting real energy from my food, instead of resource-depleting fake energy. If you have some weight to lose, coffee will make you eat less often, but in the long run, you’re going to find yourself overeating to regain the nutritional ground you lost while you were burning the hormone candle at both ends.

Did coffee have anything to do with my thyroid hormones, as I’d mentioned earlier? The interplay between all of the body’s hormones, whether sex hormones or steroid hormones, is a delicate one, and of course messing with one thing will mess with another! Anyone who does have thyroid function will almost certainly be stressing that gland due to the other disrupted hormones. But since I don’t have any thyroid function to speak of, I wouldn’t really be affecting my thyroid directly with coffee.

In my case, it is the fact that having coffee within an hour of taking thyroid medicine will decrease absorption of that medication that was probably tripping me up the most. I was having a hard time even waiting an hour to drink my first cup, and I don’t doubt that was skewing my uptake at least a little bit. This isn’t just about your medication, though, friends:

Coffee also interferes with the absorption of nutrients from your food. Coffee lowers the acidity of your stomach. Please don’t listen to the idiots who say that’s a good thing. Your stomach is supposed to be acidic, with an ideal ph of between 1 and 2. Coffee is acidic, with a pH of 5, but not as acidic as stomach acid, so it’s actually not acidifying your body, but quite the opposite. When you bring that pH up even a little, you are impairing your stomach’s ability to dissolve and digest nutrients. (This is also why I don’t recommend drinking a whole lot of water at meals, but doing most of your drinking in between. Little sips will do to aid swallowing.)

Coffee contains phytates that can interfere with absorption of minerals such as iron and zinc. 

Caffeine speeds up gut motility

Caffeine–not the only important compound in coffee, but the one you’re probably really addicted to–also speeds up your gut motility and causes your food to remain in the gut for a shorter time, further decreasing your absorption of food.

I’m going to go out on a limb with this next couple of possible harms. I haven’t really looked into these ideas yet, but I have hunches. Many of the plant compounds in coffee, including caffeine, are designed to act as pesticides to protect the seed from being eaten. There are any number of possible effects from this. You know that if you overdose on coffee, you will have symptoms: headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, jittery or nervous behavior. I think those compounds probably cause some leaky gut, a condition where the tight junctions in your small intestine become loosened and allow too-large proteins to enter the bloodstream, causing all sorts of symptoms of food intolerances and full-blown allergies.

Food poisoning may also be a slight concern. Not the most likely thing, maybe, but I have seen a pattern of illnesses that resembled food poisoning in at least one person I’m aware of who has been on and off coffee the same way I have. Eating is a challenge to the immune system. Every time you eat, your body directs a large portion of its resources to sorting out what is and isn’t acceptable to have in your bloodstream. If you are chronically lowering your stomach acid with coffee, you’re weakening your ability to fight the pathogens that are meant die in that acidic environment.

So, is coffee ever a good idea?

I can envision some scenarios where I might resort to coffee. Some kind of emergency requiring me to stay up all night, for instance. Living the quiet life I do, that’s a very unlikely thing, thankfully. Or maybe pre-race, a cup of coffee would be just the thing to push me over the top for just that one day. I do want to get out and race with other people sometime, instead of just racing myself every time. So that’s a situation where you might catch me backsliding a bit.

On any kind of regular basis, though? Nope. Coffee has got to go.

You’ll have to decide for yourself, of course, if your coffee habit is truly a good thing for you. I won’t make fun of you for enjoying your brew, and I hope the longevity studies turn out to be true. With this many coffee addicts running around, that certainly would be good news for all of us! But I do encourage everybody to at least try a few weeks without it, then go back to drinking it, and see if it’s really as harmless as you think it is.

I’ve closed comments on this blog. If you want to discuss this, or anything else, you can find me on MeWe, Gab, or SG.

Did Keto or Carnivore Heal My Thyroid?

Could it heal yours?

I mentioned a while back that I was experimenting with easing off of my thyroid medication. I had high hopes that my carnivore/keto ways of eating had finally made it possible for my thyroid to make its own hormones. I’m at the end of that experiment now, and ready to report my results. I’m going to have to back up a ways to explain my thinking and results, though, so that readers can understand why my results are probably not going to be typical. Someone else may have a better or worse chance of success, depending on their unique circumstances.

In my late teens, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. What I really had was a drug problem, intense sadness, and a Jesus-shaped hole in my heart. But I didn’t turn to Jesus until much later. The worldly way of dealing with my failures was to see a psychiatrist, so that’s what I did. The psychiatrist put me on lithium, never warning me that the drug could affect my thyroid function. I was on myriad other drugs, also, and nothing helped at all. I’m not going to go into the story of the next few years, because, to tell the truth, I have no memory of a great deal of it. It was bad, OK? Suffice it to say that Jesus found me, made me whole, and I’ve been clothed and (mostly) in my right mind for about twenty years now.

Praise God!

But my thyroid did not recover. When I cold-turkey quit all the psych meds, I also threw out the thyroid medicine. In my ignorance, I didn’t realize that it was different than the rest of the meds, and I actually needed that one. For about five years, I didn’t understand that I was running on a damaged thyroid. I had plenty of symptoms that I didn’t know were symptoms, but I had fired all the doctors, so there was nobody to tell me.

This is the part where we sit in silence, in awe and wonder at how God brought me through these still-difficult years and gave me two beautiful, healthy children when I should probably have been infertile.

Then, like many post-partum women, after my second child, I found that my thyroid just flat-out couldn’t do it any more. A doctor finally tested my hormone levels, and put me on levothyroxine. That was more than fifteen years ago, and I have been taking that medication every day since then.

Once I started doing a ketogenic, then carnivore diet, I felt better than I could remember feeling since I was a child. My thyroid antibodies, a marker of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, simply disappeared after I cut out plants. I started hearing stories of women with Hashimoto’s being able to regain some thyroid function. But I didn’t just have Hashimoto’s. I also had decreased function from the psychiatric attack on my thyroid. My chances of success were slim, but I had to try.

As I mentioned here, I did everything I could think of, including quitting coffee and taking thyroid boosting supplements, to optimize my thyroid function, and then I (without my doctor’s supervision, and don’t you EVER think of trying this at home) eased myself off my thyroid medicine over a period of some weeks. For about the amount of time it takes for the last of the thyroid medicine to leave your body, I felt normal.

Then for a few more weeks, I thought I felt normal. Maybe a little slow. And then I started slipping more noticeably. I started to gain some weight, even though I wasn’t eating any differently. I was forgetting things, not getting my housework done, feeling cranky and sluggish all the time. My hair dried out, nails became brittle. Exercise became hard, instead of a joy to me like it usually is.

I kept on trucking for a few more weeks, hoping that my brain and thyroid tissue would finally figure it out.

In the end, I finally had to admit that I was not going to make it. These were my numbers about 3 months from beginning to taper off:


So, no, carnivore and keto did not heal my thyroid. I’m not able to make it without hormone replacement. Back on the same medication I went.

But here’s the interesting part. There were things that got better, even as my thyroid symptoms got worse. My period (avert your eyes, men) had always been ridiculously heavy and with giant clots, and that actually got better with no meds. I didn’t experience any cycle disruption at all. Perhaps I would have if I hadn’t tapped out of the experiment when I did. My sleep tracker started telling me that I was sleeping better, less restlessly.

The biggest change was that my acne disappeared. For a few years, I’d constantly had embarrassing, ugly, deep red cysts on my face. After stopping the meds, I didn’t even need makeup to go out anymore. I confess, I always felt especially delicate about the acne because I knew many people would blame my carnivore diet for it. I want to be an ambassador for this optimal way of eating, and I knew nobody would want to imitate me with my face looking like that. I had questioned whether it was the diet myself, but I’ve never seen a carnivore besides me have this problem, and I felt wonderful otherwise. I knew it had to be something else. I had never considered that it could be the formulation of the medication itself.

When I went back on Levoxyl, that acne came roaring back. The good news in this for me was that coffee was not the reason I had acne. It was obviously the medication, so I at least got to reacquaint myself with that old friend. Temporarily. We can talk more about coffee some other time.

Once I started thinking through what had happened during my sabbatical from medication, I realized that it was probably some inactive ingredient in the thyroid pill I was taking, and not anything wrong with my hormones, that was causing the acne. So, without fully disclosing to my doctor what a crazy thing I had done to figure this out, I asked her to put me on Tirosint, instead of Levoxyl. It’s pricey, but absolutely worth it to get a medication that doesn’t have any unnecessary ingredients.

I have not had any acne since I switched meds. My periods also got even lighter and my cycle is shorter: 28 days now instead of 34. This is marvelous!

Even though I didn’t succeed at resurrecting my thyroid with the carnivore diet, as many Hashimoto’s sufferers have done, I am very glad I tried. It is not a good idea to just accept long-term medication without trying to find other solutions. There was a better approach for me, and it is possible that I never would have realized it if I hadn’t gone this route.

Carnivore and keto might still work for your thyroid, Dear Reader. Several readers have asked for updates, I presume because they’d like to try this themselves. My friendly, not-at-all-medical advice is to get your diet nailed down for at least six months. Do either grain- and dairy-free keto or, ideally, carnivore. See if your antibodies improve. Then, under your doctor’s supervision–please do not do follow my example and go it alone–ease off the drugs and see what happens for you. I had a history of high lithium intake to contend with, so you very easily could have better luck than I did.

I would encourage anybody with Hashimotos to give it a very studied, deliberate, careful attempt. I’d love to hear from any of you about your own situation!

I’m not opening comments on the blog anymore. Spam and trolls are just too much trouble. You can find me for conversation on Gab, MeWe, and SG.

Of Kale and Coffee

“What’s wrong with kale?” a reader wanted to know after my post about parental bribery, which was not really about kale. I trust this means that my point about parenting was well-taken, at least.

If I didn’t have a personal clean speech policy, I’d gladly don the t-shirt that Paul Salad-no–er, Saladino–likes to wear:

I know people hear that and think it’s some kind of anti-health joke, but I am in earnest when I say you shouldn’t eat it. It is mostly unusable fiber, useful only for making your poops big. It is also loaded with compounds that both inhibit absorption of any nutrients that might be found in it and could potentially harm you in other ways. Cooking it can take care of some of these chemicals, but not all. It’s a leafy green that has iron, you say? Sorry, mom, it’s not iron that a human body can use very well. You’re much better off eating an ounce of liver, or just plain old ground beef, than several cups of kale.

The goitrogens found in kale and all of its relatives are the main reason I find that mother’s feeding of her children to be appalling. That wasn’t just kale, but raw kale. The kids’ thyroids will survive a few doses of that, but over a lifetime? This is an incredibly bad idea.

Is kale good for anything? Well, we took a weekend trip to Asheville a few years ago and saw that they had kale planted in the flower beds. I approve of this use of kale. And look, if you cook it real good to get the goitrogens out and eat it far, far away from any foods you want to actually absorb, you can eat some kale and not be harmed by it. If you really like it (you freak), your pleasure is a good worth pursuing. It’s not a bad poison in the right dose, delivered the right way. You might even get some trace minerals with your snack, if you salt it with an unrefined salt. But kale is not really helping anything, once you factor in the numerous downsides.

And now I turn my baleful gaze on coffee. I can hear you already screaming “Why do you have to ruin everything, Cindy? Why?!” Coffee is good for you. Everybody says so. Just like kale. In fact, Ken Berry says it’s good for you (or did, back when he posted this), so you can comfort yourself with this happy video:

I believe I heard that the good doctor has quit coffee himself now, and become somewhat less certain of himself in this regard.

I’ll let Paul Saladino explain the problem with coffee, which also happens to be the problem with chocolate.

If you don’t have time to watch, that’s fine. It’s all pretty sciencey and involved. Suffice it to say that there are good reasons to turn down that morning cup of wakefulness.

For myself, coffee and chocolate both were causing hormonal acne. I’m not sure if it was the high cortisol, the disturbed sleep, some chemical from the growing or processing of those beans, or something else I can’t even think of, but my face had at least one, sometimes two or three new oil volcanoes every month, right about that time, IYKWIM. I looked awful. One thing I’m certain of is that caffeine all by itself is not causing these problems. I’m still having the equivalent of one to two cups a day with Run gum (that link gets you 20% off for the next two shoppers that use it), which I will be stopping as soon as I feel like it, which is not right now. I also like a yerba mate or yaupon tea from time to time, as they’re a low-oxalate alternative to pekoe tea.

I quit chocolate first, and things got some better. I did see improvement, but not enough to think I’d really solved the problem. It wasn’t until I finally broke the coffee (not to say the caffeine) habit that I experienced healing to an extent that made me a believer. Since I quit, my body temperature has risen, as well, so it was affecting my thyroid, as well.

These beans are not good for me.

Should you quit your coffee? I don’t know. If you’re sleeping beautifully (you’ll have to let me tell you about my Oura ring sometime!), no skin problems, stable mood, no gut or hormonal problems, then go ahead and enjoy your bitter brew. But know that it’s probably going to bite you someday if you can’t moderate the habit.

You should definitely quit kale though. Definitely.