Don't Eat X, But Eat More Calories

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Jun 19, 2020
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Hey all,

Feeling a little bit frustrated reading through the advice here. Already I don't eat enough calories, so I hear the advice "EAT MORE CALORIES"...

But then conversely I read...

avoid too much starch or too much muscle meat which increases insulin, while also avoiding PUFA

If it weren't for starch and muscle meat I would be eating practically nothing. Avocados and olive oil also give me some much needed fat calories, in an easy way. Not to mention nut butters!

What do you all do to get enough calories?? Are you really all just living off of gallons of milk and OJ and oysters? I am not down with that, it just does not seem pleasant.

On the one hand I need to eat more calories...But on the other hand, I should avoid MEAT, and STARCH, as well as a major type of fat?

For somebody like me who already under eats, following a "Peat inspired" diet feels like I'm shooting myself in one foot to benefit the other one.
 

Arnold Grape

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A better qualifier might say something like avoid starches that do not digest easily — this will take some experimentation. If you’re thinking that the objective is to switch to all sugar it’s probably a bad idea: try consuming meat with a bit of gelatin and introduce foods that you enjoy and that will not flip your current approach on its head. Try getting dairy where you can if it is not super disruptive. This diet is not rocket science but it can become dangerous when its concepts introduce orthorexia. It can do that.
 

wealthofwisdom

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I think that a diet that is telling people to remove major sources of calories (muscle meat, starch, unsaturated fats) can be a bit dangerous for somebody like me who already doesn't eat enough. I get a lot of calories from meat (ground beef, chicken) rice, potatoes, nuts, and olive oil. What I need to be doing is ADDING more things to my diet, not removing. I guess it depends on where the person is and what issues they are currently facing. As somebody who finds it hard to even eat 1500 calories per day, I found it disheartening to read advice telling me to stop eating pretty much every major source of my current calories. I personally do not enjoy eating that much sugar - sugar gives me a headache. OJ does too, and has done my entire life. Rice, however, gives me energy and causes me no issues.

I'm definitely not the type of person to embrace a diet full force without checking in with myself. I'm very sensitive to things and as soon as something doesn't feel good I stop doing it. Which is why I will never switch from starch to all sugar.

To be honest the majority of food recommended in the Peat diet I DON'T like - except for gelatin, eggs, and fruit. Everything else: OJ, milk, oysters, liver, sugar....Not a fan and I don't think would do that much good to me.

I guess the tips I can take away are to eat more gelatin with meat, put some sweetener in my coffee, and maybe eat more fruit. I'm also going to buy some raw milk, to see if I like that better...But the majority of suggestions just seem unfeasible to me. :-/
 
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@wealthofwisdom Don't worry as much about calorie counting as putting nutrient dense foods in the diet while simultaneously restricting PUFA

Incorporate bone broth regularly to balance out amino acid ratios from muscle meat
Eat liver once or twice a week
Eat oysters once or twice a week
Have milk for protein on some days
Eat eggs on some days
Use fruits and fruit juice to regulate blood sugar and balance stress responses
Eat starches that agree with you, preferably paired with vegetables at the same meals
Consider buying oyster shell calcium or making eggshell calcium to balance out phosphorus

Avoid beans and gluten

Soak nuts and seeds thoroughly if you insist on keeping them in the diet

The protein stuff will give satiety from day to day and just go from there with fruit, veg, starch etc

Edit: also butter, coconut oil yattayatta
 

alephx

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Oct 15, 2018
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Yeah the nuts I would probably ditch them as quick as I could truth is they are not very Peaty. Suggestions for calories: pasta, carrot salad, sweet potatoes, double down on rice, switch all oils for coconut oil, buy (or make) good quality (no added iron if possible) bread, butter to go with it. See if issues with OJ go away with salt (btw OJ should be as fresh as possible, this leaves out 99% of what you could buy in a supermarket). It's not easy and in the US at least, I feel certainly not that cheap, but your health is worth it. If anything cut the nuts and increase portions of what you are already eating. I would give the oysters a shot and see how you feel.
 
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1500Kcal is not much. What's your height and bodyweight? Easy and tasty calories: white bread, honey, butter, raisins, dates, apple juice, apple sauce with honey, gummy bears, bananas.
 
Last edited:

inurendotoxin

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1500Kcal is not much. What's your height and bodyweight? Easy and tasty calories: white bread, honey, butter, raisins, dates, apple juice, apple sauce with honey, gummy bears, bananas.

OP mentioned she did not tolerate sugar well. Most of those are pretty sugar-laden.

I'm sure Peat has said the increasing calories is way more important for metabolism than including/avoiding starches and PUFA. (Reference pending..)

Numerous cases of people fixing metabolism eating a ton of junk food and PUFA (Stephanie Buttermore comes to mind) who have never even heard of Ray Peat.

It sounds like fruit would be a good call though. Bananas are great, and satiating. Cheese is highly kcal dense. Then of course there's butter, and coconut oil as others have mentioned. Melting in cheese and butter with your regular meals seems like an easy (and delicious) way to add kcals and protein. Or just increasing portion sizes in general? Unsweetened cream goes well with just about anything - heavy cream, sour cream (creme freche?), coconut cream...:yum:


Personally I eat a ton of fruit, eggs, tuna, muscle meats, protein yogurt (that Icelandic Skyr stuff is incredible) and bitter marmalade (or low sugar jams), sweet potato, occasional bread, low PUFA (but not completely avoided), truckloads of cereal and oats. Very seldom do I add sugar to stuff, but if I had the macros, I would double down on nut butters and ice cream all day.

Controversially I would say bran flakes, muesli and oatmeal make up like 25-33% of my daily intake (also how I get most of my milk). Because, it's important to enjoy what you eat.

I think the PUFA and starch avoidance is somewhat overblown in RP land. Environment and good living are way more influential on metabolism. If your intestine is healthy, you can handle a few grains.
 
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GreekDemiGod

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I think that a diet that is telling people to remove major sources of calories (muscle meat, starch, unsaturated fats) can be a bit dangerous for somebody like me who already doesn't eat enough. I get a lot of calories from meat (ground beef, chicken) rice, potatoes, nuts, and olive oil. What I need to be doing is ADDING more things to my diet, not removing.
Lean muscle meat by itself is low-calorie, it's just pure protein content. If you're gonna eat meat, eat fatty meat.
Starch is indeed calorically dense.
You have to find a way to eat 400g+ of carbs / day, however you do it.
My total sugar content almost reaches 300g / day
 
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The no starch thing is the worst advice Peat has. I see it only being good as a therapeutic thing which may be necessary for some people with poor digestion, for awhile, but as some ultimate optimal best thing to do - no way. Feels almost as stressful as low-carb.
Maybe in some perfect tropical Eden situation with abundance of perfect sweet fruits, perfect weather and no stress from the modern authoritarian lifestyle it would be doable.
 

Goat-e

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I would stop reading the forum for awhile and go and read Ray Peat's articles first (if you haven't already?). Once you've got a basic understanding of what he's trying to illuminate (which might take awhile) and you've applied some of those principles, then come back. Too many dive in here, get a distorted view, and end up in all sorts of trouble.
 

Korven

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The no starch thing is the worst advice Peat has. I see it only being good as a therapeutic thing which may be necessary for some people with poor digestion, for awhile, but as some ultimate optimal best thing to do - no way. Feels almost as stressful as low-carb.
Maybe in some perfect tropical Eden situation with abundance of perfect sweet fruits, perfect weather and no stress from the modern authoritarian lifestyle it would be doable.

Cutting out starch has been the best thing I've ever done for my health, and many other people on this forum have experienced benefits from going no starch.

If someone wants to eat starch and feel good doing that, that's awesome! No need to change anything.

If you're sick and desperate to find a solution to your health problems, maybe try not eating starch and see what happens.

Since going zero starch I no longer wake up feeling poisoned and am able to workout again for the first time in years. When I reintroduce starch, my symptoms come back. I am very grateful for Peat's advice.
 

Iraber

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just eat whatever you want to, as much as you can. focus on simple sugars and saturated fat. Dont listen to people here. the majority of them are neurotic and sick with no understand of nature and logic. Maybe youll get lucky and have someone who has their head screwed on straight respond. The rest are jabronis.
 

marcar72

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I found it disheartening to read advice telling me to stop eating pretty much every major source of my current calories.

This forum can be a real drag for sure!! So many people take what they think Ray Peat advocates out of context quite a lot on this forum. It's probably best to just read up the articles on Ray Peat's website and take EVERYTHING you read here on the forum with a "grain of salt". (pun intended) :D

Start by reading this article here: Meat physiology, stress, and degenerative physiology.

Dont listen to people here. the majority of them are neurotic and sick with no understand of nature and logic. Maybe youll get lucky and have someone who has their head screwed on straight respond. The rest are jabronis.

:yeahthat
 

milkboi

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What worked for me was restricting problematic foods like starch and even fat, fixing my gut using different measures like Cypro, low fiber, tetracycline. Now I can eat starch and digest it perfectly, although it still slows me down a bit, so it does not make up the bulk of my diet.

If your digestion is already on point, no need to be so restrictive in my opinion.
 
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@Korven Yeah definitely it can be really helpful. But it's really restrictive and a lot of people here have experienced drawbacks from it too. It gave me relief from digestive problems and made me fall asleep faster but it quickly made me feel colder and more stressed. Never really felt fully satisfied and stable energy with it. Starch just hits a spot fruit, animal protein and saturated fat doesn't. No starch always made me lose the appetite for fruit too. It became not fun really fast.

But for sure it's good to try all sorts of stuff. I'm fine with different stuff working for different people, at different times (although PUFA is evil always :smilingimp:). Maybe some day you'll be able to eat starch with no problems who knows. But as a general holy grail for health I don't believe in no starch. But it still had it's place with me too.
 

Korven

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@Korven Yeah definitely it can be really helpful. But it's really restrictive and a lot of people here have experienced drawbacks from it too. It gave me relief from digestive problems and made me fall asleep faster but it quickly made me feel colder and more stressed. Never really felt fully satisfied and stable energy with it. Starch just hits a spot fruit, animal protein and saturated fat doesn't. No starch always made me lose the appetite for fruit too. It became not fun really fast.

But for sure it's good to try all sorts of stuff. I'm fine with different stuff working for different people, at different times (although PUFA is evil always :smilingimp:). Maybe some day you'll be able to eat starch with no problems who knows. But as a general holy grail for health I don't believe in no starch. But it still had it's place with me too.

Agreed! Do whatever works for you - track symptoms or whatever it is you want to fix and go by results only. Do more of what works and less of what doesn't.

That's why I wouldn't rule out going zero starch even though it is restrictive/harder to get enough calories. Wouldn't necessarily be the first thing I'd try but it's definitely worth experimenting with.

I believe it can be a very powerful tool if your health isn't improving despite all your efforts (I think he might be banned now but @Waremu made some very good posts on the potential negative effects of starch and his experience matches mine).

Starch digests just fine for me but in a couple days I start getting very sick again with symptoms of endotoxemia/serotonin overload. Tried all iterations: 100% vegan low saturated fat, plant-based with some animal products, only potatoes, only rice, only sourdough, starch with coconut oil or butter or olive oil... just doesn't work.
 

wealthofwisdom

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Thanks for responding everybody, your responses put a smile on my face and made me feel better :) I'm glad to see that there is a healthy check on dogma around here.

I have no digestive issues, and starch has never made me feel bad. Sugar has always made me feel bad. Alcohol as well.

My issues are:

1) Adrenal fatigue (was calling it "adrenal fatigue symptoms", but I think it's actually adrenal fatigue, the more I read up on it). Excessive napping, insomnia at night, feeling dead tired during the day, loss of motivation, no energy to do what I want to do, sluggishness, brain fog...
2) Hair shedding / hair loss (this comes and goes. It was pretty bad a few weeks ago, now seems to be subsiding. But my overall state of health seems to be immediately reflected in my hair. So when my hair starts to shed I take that as a sign that some health issue needs to be addressed).

I actually have no other issues that I read about in adrenal fatigue / thyroid symptoms. Except for my entire life I've tended towards being cold, and I've tended towards having depression. But none of the other health issues I see listed for Adrenal fatigue / thyroid issues (digestion, constipation, weight gain, skin issues, etc, none of it, just the excessive tiredness and hair shedding).

After reading through this forum, I realized that many adrenal fatigue symptoms are the same as "low calorie" symptoms. Meaning perhaps I"m not eating enough. I never knew that a woman was supposed to eat 2000+ calories per day. At some point I read "1200/day" and I always thought that I was more or less around that level, so I thought I was good. I have a low appetite. Actually I do get hungry, but then I get full really fast. So I don't end up eating a lot of food every day, by nature of my actual appetite. I've always been this way, even as a child.

From researching my symptoms all of them point to adrenal / thyroid / cortisol issues. And these issues naturally led me to Ray Peat, since that is his jam.

But since my issues could ALSO be stemming from low calorie intake, I think I need to be adding foods, not taking any away, unless they are just downright god-awful for me. I have a hard time believing that rice, full fat plain yogurt, bananas, and muscle meat (4 things I eat on a regular basis) are bad for me.

I agree that I should probably be reading Ray Peat's actual articles, to get the info from the source. I have read a few, and they are quite dense reading, but I will try again.

I appreciate all of the input.
 

wealthofwisdom

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@wealthofwisdom Don't worry as much about calorie counting as putting nutrient dense foods in the diet while simultaneously restricting PUFA

Incorporate bone broth regularly to balance out amino acid ratios from muscle meat
Eat liver once or twice a week
Eat oysters once or twice a week
Have milk for protein on some days
Eat eggs on some days
Use fruits and fruit juice to regulate blood sugar and balance stress responses
Eat starches that agree with you, preferably paired with vegetables at the same meals
Consider buying oyster shell calcium or making eggshell calcium to balance out phosphorus

Avoid beans and gluten

Soak nuts and seeds thoroughly if you insist on keeping them in the diet

The protein stuff will give satiety from day to day and just go from there with fruit, veg, starch etc

Edit: also butter, coconut oil yattayatta

Thank you. I appreciate the list of telling me what to add. This seems like some good advice and doable for me.
 

wealthofwisdom

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1500Kcal is not much. What's your height and bodyweight? Easy and tasty calories: white bread, honey, butter, raisins, dates, apple juice, apple sauce with honey, gummy bears, bananas.

I'm just under 5'6", 120 lbs. I'm slim, but not scrawny. Out of that list I would enjoy butter, bananas, and honey. Apple juice has also always given me a headache. I have a thing with headaches and sugary foods. Always have.
 
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