The Apocalypse: Conquest

It’s kind of funny how I have changed as I’ve gotten older. I just turned 34 last month and despite oscillations over the years the trend since I’ve been born is linear improvement. I feel better than I felt last year and so on. The funny part is that I eat just about everything these days and the only thing that has stayed universally consistent over the years is my general avoidance of polyunsaturated fat and more recently my willingness to embrace childhood favorites on a regular basis including things like Doritos, commercial pizza and cheeseburgers. A paradox I know—but that’s about it.

There are a couple of things that you might find interesting as well.

I come from the band camp that sings the tune that a high metabolism is not the same thing as an efficient metabolism. Now efficiency i.e. “achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense” is what gives a person the ability to eat less than another despite matched efforts. And depending on what is going on this could mean a person is producing more ATP per log of wood thrown onto the fire or a person is using ATP more—how do I say this proper—more soundly. Or both.

Bottom line if you can’t go without food for a day there is something wrong. You might want to upgrade from a bonfire to a wood burning stove. Or from two sticks to a match. Or from wet sticks to dry sticks. Ha.

For myself, I eat the bulk of my calories after work. Sometimes I’ll bring something “small” to work like Creepy Uncle Ed’s 6-yolk hot chocolate (have lost interesting coffee for some time) or I’ll pick one up at the coffee shop (sadly no yolks in that), and sometimes a few 1 gram salt tablets during the day mostly preemptive preparation for my evening weightlifting.

I eat all of the macronutrients in any combination that I am hungry for. The only rule I follow is to avoid polyunsaturated fat. Now avoid doesn’t mean always. When I’m in Rome (traveling), I do as the Romans do, and indulge in a bit of pro-oxidative behavior. For example, recently I was up in Chicago and ate the local cuisine. If I happen to be hungry for some childhood favorites such as Doritos which seem to be magical in instances I do so.

I even eat wheat things, like pancakes, using un-crapified wheat flour. Basically unbleached, unbrominated, unenriched flour. Enriched flours acutely bother me. So I’ve been baking a little more as of late even have made my own sandwich bread which I use for cheese burgers. You could live off cheeseburgers and milkshakes by the way and only lack in potassium so take your pick, banana split or fries (air fried or cooked in coconut oil or peanut oil—Five Guys Cajun fries anyone?)

One of the most interesting accidental discoveries I made this year was after I purchased a pressure cooker. Starch gelatinization on digestibility is pretty incredible, rice and potatoes no longer bother me.

I smoke off and on though less then I used to and I drink off and on as well sometimes excessively other times nothing. I sleep when I’m tired although increased tobacco use and moderate alcohol consumption seems to improve my sleeping patterns to acceptable societal norms whereas without those things I tend to have irregular sleeping patterns like when I was growing up.

On workdays, Monday through Friday I tend to eat less calories on average then on the weekend.

Not much in the way of supplements, maybe a quarter tablet of Aspirin on occasion, salt tablets pretty regularly (I sweat a lot, as in puddles on the lifting platform when I work out), and infrequently magnesium, I just took some the other day last time I took it was in December. I’ve never taken any single supplement on a regular basis without having some sort of eventual negative effect. Sometimes I take 12.5 mcg of Cynomel.

Aspirin, Benadryl, Cynomel, and magnesium all reduce my maximal strength. A small amount of Benadryl (1/4 to 1/2 a tablet) is enough to knock my maximum efforts down 10-15kg for 24-36 hours. 12.5 mcg of Cynomel will increase my strength for 6 hours but subsequently reduce it for the next 24 hours. A steady dose of ¼ a tablet of Aspirin will eventually cause difficulty in breathing—eosinophilia. A steady dose of 500mg of magnesium per day also reduces my strength although not as predictably as the other supplements. Whey protein, I essentially have completely negative effects with. It essentially interferes with my vision temporarily which is interesting, not willing to fuck around with that since I have better than perfect vision yet.

Essentially, I eat things I want and justify those crappy foods I grew up with as beneficial pro-oxidants. Isn’t that fucked up?

38 Comments The Apocalypse: Conquest

  1. James

    “Bottom line if you can’t go without food for a day there is something wrong.” that has become obvious to me, too. Healthy people I know eat or snack no less than others, but are able to continue functioning remarkably well without food if it happens that food is not available. I lose my abilities after a few hours if I’m not able to eat or rest. The best I can do is follow an unconventional diet, which improves my performance and brings it near to that of an average person, but pales compared to that of “efficient” people.

  2. Jon O

    Hi Edward,
    You say you generally avoid PUFA but then mention cooking potatoes in an Air Fryer, Coconut Oil or Peanut Oil. Why Peanut Oil? I thought it is one of the worst PUFA oils unless it is Fully Hydrogenated.

  3. Eric

    Do you get any kind of tangible withdrawal from tobacco? I’ve smoked pipes/cigars for 4 years and used nasal snuff for a year and a half. I don’t notice much of anything when I stop except vaguely missing it. I don’t think missing something counts as physical withdrawal. I don’t use very much and make a point to keep it moderate, but not absurdly like some people (1x per week smoke etc).

  4. Edward

    I don’t want to give the impression that I have peanut oil on anything resembling a regular basis nor the Doritos, I was referring to the fact that on occasion I will have some of Five Guy’s Cajun French Fries which are cooked in peanut oil. The same goes for the Doritos, it’s a occasional “thing”.

  5. Edward

    I don’t really notice anything as well with nicotine when I stop. I quit once for 2 years when I was 26-27 but it wasn’t that I quit for anything health related I just didn’t use nicotine. Recently I didn’t use for 30 days, didn’t notice anything as well. Don’t think I could do nasal snuff. LOL. I’ve smoked since I was 18 I’m 34, minus 2 years and 30 days. But even when I was 18 I was aware of the idea that not all cigarettes are created equal.

  6. Eric

    In your case it’s interesting as you smoked cigarettes and, if I recall correctly, use snus as well. for a long time I considered those methods of delivery more “prone” to heavier/habitual use and/or addiction. Lots of people use pipes and cigars (sans inhaling into lungs) without any sort of addiction. I’m assuming you inhale the smoke? Some people think you don’t absorb nicotine orally, which is hilarious. I smoked a cigar a few months ago after a week off nicotine and was dry heaving over the toilet for half an hour… it’s not for lack of nicotine absorption that I am not physically addicted, I guess.

    I’ve long suspected that the relapse rates for tobacco are high 6-12 months out from cessation because of severe problems that were being masked by tobacco. I.E. digestive problems in particular, or a job that is too much for a person to handle.

  7. Jim

    Hi Edward, out of curiosity, do you smoke filtered or unfiltered cigs?
    Is there any difference health-wise, in your opinion?

  8. Vanner

    This is great, and I love the concept and observations of the efficient metabolism. As an older guy I see my metabolism becoming less efficient — needing more fuel to do the same things; shitty.

    If I need to eat every 2 hours to “raise metabolism” and optimally function as a human being then something seems wrong; or I’m just running an ultra marathon (I don’t). Or maybe I’m trying to fuel myself with only sugar and lean protein (tried it, and it broke me).

    I’m curious as to what has you “dancing with the devil” more instead of LCHF? And have you pudged up at all, or noticed an increase in neurotic thoughts?

    And where’s that egg yolk hot chocolate recipe?

    Also, I liked the first two analogies, but you lost me on the wet sticks

  9. Edward

    Wet sticks are harder to light on fire than dry sticks.

    My recipe for the hot chocolate is 6 egg yolks, 1 cup of milk (whole or 2% milk is what I use but there is enough fat in the yolks you could use skim or 1% milk if you prefer), 1 cup of water (I usually use distilled, water quality is garbage in the area I live), 1/4 teaspoon of salt (but more might be necessary I kind of like a savory sweet hot chocolate), 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1-2 tablespoons of granulated sugar (the sugar I put in it just depends on how sweet it tastes I like a more balanced bitter/sweet taste, some like it more bitter or sweet), 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract (adjust to taste I do believe vanilla can sometimes have sedative effects). Warm the milk and water in a pan or microwave add the dry ingredients and blend it till everything is dissolved then add the egg yolks and mix well. Pretty much what is on the back of the Hersey’s cocoa powder box plus the yolks. Adjust the yolks as necessary more or less depending on if you like an egg taste or not. If find if I’m stressed this will put me to sleep if I’m well rested it’s a good breakfast. You want the egg yolks to mix well and the heat from the cooling water should provide a gentle cooking to the yolks but you don’t want to add the yolks during the heat process of the milk and water.

    I don’t know either way if eating more or more often is a way to “fix” things especially if you feel like you are full all the time and don’t want to eat (I suspect it’s not, much like when you are sick and barfing you don’t want to eat anything aside from very specific foods or nothing at all, I think there is a reason for that). I think you should eat when you are hungry and not eat when you aren’t hungry. I think it is more effective to experiment and limit PUFA and a foods that make you feel bad or neurotic. I do think that when you eat you should feel warm but sometimes that immediate warm response takes time to develop as you heal. Your best bet is to think of foods that you eat currently that make your hands warm when you eat them. To complicate things more sometimes simple adjustments in salting can change how warming a food is. In fact as I’m writing this I realize I need to do a larger post on eating “intuitively” and regaining and learning to “redevelop” instincts i.e. hear them and trust them.

    A really good example is how different flours make me feel (enriched flours make me feel like crap but unenriched tastes better and digests well and makes me feel good). Different brands of bacon and flavors make me feel good or bad. White meat on chicken tastes good and I feel good whereas dark meat with skin makes my feet cold. Regular potato chips make me feel like garbage and break out in acne like a teenager but a bag of Doritos has magic in it, but if I eat them consistently they make me feel like garbage. A NY strip tastes like garbage but a leaner filet and fattier ribeye makes me feel good. It doesn’t seem like there is any consistency, but I think there is, and that is the nutrition you need when you need it. Animals eat in the same way.

    I have two cats, they both are raw feed but they prefer different types of meat at different times, they would rather go hungry if given a meat they don’t want then eat at all, I think there is something to that. On one hand they can be hungry but on the other hand they won’t sometimes eat the food put in front of them but if I put a different food in front of them they will eat it. It is almost as though in one case a food is good and life giving but in the other sense the food if they aren’t hungry for it takes something away and might in a sense make it harmful.

    I notice that somethings will make me pudged up like enriched flour especially in the chin area within a day after eating it, I tend to think that is some type of allergic reaction.

    Anyway at some point I’ll dedicate a post to this topic and a bit more science behind the “intuition”.

    Thanks for commenting Vanner, best wishes,

  10. Edward

    Jim, American Spirit Blacks. Filtered.

    I don’t know honestly, I’m a dedicated biased smoker who has stopped trying to justify it to myself.

  11. Vanner

    Thanks for the great response. Ever since I read about the Clara Davis “experiment”, I thought their might be some wisdom in trusting ones instincts for eating, but you’d really need to tune in and develop patience. Environment would be a big influencer as well in terms of food variety and availability.

    Figuring out how to hit that satiation button just right can be tricky.

    I look foward to your next post.

  12. Pizzagater

    Hey Edward,

    Intuitive eating definitely sounds like the way to go, it just takes times to learn to hear the signals from your body clearly.

    Have cravings for pizza too sometimes but aren’t they full of PUFA?

  13. Edward

    Pizza crust is going to be the main source of PUFA, some places put it in the sauce too, you have to ask, but it is becoming easier to find places that use olive oil and or butter in their crust and sauce. The best route is to make your own.

  14. Matt

    I’ve recently started adding some starch back into my diet after an educational stint of VLC. For about the first year I transitioned from a Ray Peat style diet to a high SFA, low carb diet, I was drinking cream that had milk added to it, so I was getting some CHO from the cream, and I was eating starch intermittently. At some point I got pretty sick of that brand of cream, and I switched brands, unknowingly cutting out most of my carbs in the process, as the new brand of cream was pure cream without the added milk. Pretty quickly I noticed some weird shit happening, but I didn’t really know how to interpret it. I think the neurotic tendencies cultivated by the stress state created by inadvertently going super low carb made me paranoid about ALL carbs, especially after I got into Ron Rosedale. So, I was kind of in a not ideal health place, mentally or otherwise, for at least 6 months. Now that I’ve started adding some back, I’ve noticed that a lot of my carb paranoia came from the types of carbs I was eating. White wheat bread depending on the brand messes me up pretty good, but white rice is fine. Another big thing was that I felt like I had to eat a LOT of fat with my carbs, so I was constantly pounding heavy cream and butter alongside whatever carbs I ate. I think SFA is great, but I don’t think it pairs super well with CHO in massive quantities, as it does generate transient insulin resistance. Now, when I pair CHO with avocado or olive oil, I seem to have fewer issues. I’ll also drizzle MCT on my sushi, though MCT kinda weirds me out and I feel like in 5 years we’ll find out its terrible for you in some way since your body processes it so fast. The long term effect of going VLC for me is like…a constant low-level stress state, as well as a feeling of physical sluggishness. Paul Jaminet says 100g a day, Peter at hyperlipid says 30-60g, Asprey says 100-150g every 3-7 days, Peter Attia says eat to your glucose tolerance, whatever the fuk that means, and Rosedale says you need literally zero grams, but he seems to be focusing more on the negatives of too much protein now, and somewhat retracting his extreme stance on CHO in a passive way. I think SFA as a predominant calorie source is fine, but I think when you are consuming lots of SFA, you are physiologically mimicking the fasted state, and the fed state and the fasted state are somewhat at odds with one another.

  15. Pizzagater

    That is very useful info with the crust, Edward! Thanks, man! Will leave it on the plate like a basic bitch now ;-)))

  16. Matt

    As an addendum to my previous comment, it seems that wheat creates some insane gastro-intestinal issues for me, especially the following day. I’m talking the flu without a fever. I also get a red rash on my face, scaly skin on my arms, and usually some degree of hives. I also notice a marked increase in mental symptoms for a day or two.

    Perhaps really high quality sourdough like what you’ve posted about before wouldn’t cause issues, but I’m lazy and so when I eat wheat it is spur of the moment and usually low quality restaurant stuff.

    I used to think celiacs and gluten intolerance was somewhat of an exaggeration. Not any more. Sweet potatoes, white rice, and fruit seem fine though, excluding the usual blood sugar excursions you get with all high carb foods.

  17. Zach

    To the people above commenting on smoking, I smoke 1-3 organic smokes a day, for health promoting reasons. I find clarity of thought, mood improvement, energy and a better outlook on life all from a few puffs every once in awhile. If I start smoking too often, I lose these effects and it starts to become a negative. I can also stop smoking as I don’t believe in addiction, at least not in the way people think of it. Addiction is tied to learned helplessness and is most likely entirely entwined with PUFA and serotonin. Anyway, as with quality alcohol and other quality drugs, a little can be very beneficial, a lot will shift balances and negative reactions will probably occur. The amount is relative to the person.

  18. Zach

    Edward, glad to see a relatively new post.

    I’m wondering, is the base of your diet still full fat dairy and meat? Whats your outlook on fiber now? It seems like your intake is higher, wondering how your digestion has responded.

  19. Maria

    Hi Edward, glad you are doing well.

    Would you say that you also less stressed over food and rising metabolism improve ability to digest more foods?

    As a kid I remember I didn’t stress about food and kids eat more for enjoyment and “intuitive”. I think we are lack of it.

    I avoided a lot food and now I seem have problem to digest.

    I wonder also if someone healed their food allergy.

    I am more into Matt Stone, it seems his approach makes a lot sense.

    His last article it’s interesting, he moved to less stressful environment.

  20. Shane

    My own interesting experience with rice, I find that soaking brown rice for 24 hours and then just chuck it in the ol’ rice cooker (with fresh water, discard the soaking water) seems to create a more digestible and simply better tasting end product than white rice, even when I try the rinse method of getting the water coming out of the white rice to run clear before cooking it. The pieces of brown rice stay ‘seperate’ from each other even after it cools, compared to white rice that seems to turn into a clumpy, mess of massive rocky chunks of rice stuck together.

    A very simple, very quick, very awesome recipe I’m on at the moment is let the rice sit in the cooker for 10 extra minutes on the “warm” setting after it has finished cooking, then stir in some eggs, traditionally fermented organic Tamari sauce, bit of sesame oil and cayenne pepper flakes. Keeps in the fridge for a few days so you can cook it in bulk too.

  21. Matt

    Random comment, but has anyone ever experimented with circadian meal timing, especially with carbs? It seems like if I eat carbs super early in the morning [best if its still dark outside], I don’t have nearly as big of an issue with them as when I eat them at night. I’ve read some stuff about how muscle insulin sensitivity is higher in the morning, and adipose sensitivity is higher in the evening, which makes sense as your body would want to use the carbs in the morning for energy throughout the day, but would want to store it as fat if eaten late at night, to be used for energy later. There’s the old saying “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper.” Might have some actual merit.

  22. Chris

    Hey Edward,

    How long do you cook rice and potatoes in your new pressure cooker usually? Thanks!

  23. Edward

    @Matt, not per se but definitely notice starch depends on time, starch late, no no, sugar seems to be fine anytime. Large amounts of muscle meat seems to favor midday towards evening. Eggs, cheese, ham, say in an omelette for breakfast and/or late late dinner seems fine. But beef seems to like earlier then 6:00 or 7:00 o’clock in the evening. I don’t know depends on how late it is. I seem to notice it matters more when I’m stressed and thinking about bullshit and not so much when I’m busy and not thinking about it?

  24. Edward

    @Shane, it seems most Asian cultures do this, not sure about brown rice, since that is fairly “new” in the past 100 years, but do know soaking of white rice is traditional. If you soak white rice, the ratio becomes 1:1 or less.

  25. Edward

    @Maria, I used to follow Matt Stone back in the middle to late 2000’s. Not sure what he has been up to lately. Thanks for the link.

  26. Edward

    @Zach, yes and no, all the fat I do eat is still mostly saturated aside from the occasional whole chicken, the glorious skin and all, and even rarer bacon, but yeah mostly saturated and coconut oil or butter alone or mixed as cooking fat. Don’t count fiber, but I’m sure it is a bit higher but it’s not like I eat carrot salads, peas, or plates of spinach and kale or whole wheat :)

  27. Edward

    @Zach, the comment on smoking sounds fair and to my experience. It’s individual not recommended but not not worth eliminating as an intervention if it improves your quality of life as it did mine.

  28. Shane

    Thanks Edward, I had no idea people soak white rice. Had always thought people simply rinse it and could never understand why I could never seem to cook it ‘right’. Definitely will need to experiment with that.

  29. Maria

    Thanks Edward,

    Do you check your email sometimes?

    I remember you from Ray Peat Forum and your advice regarding acne, you recommended potatoes.

    Would you mind sharing what you eat for your meals?

    Do you eat your rich protein breakfast with sugar?

    What’s your opinion on Matt Stone?

    I think his recommendations for increasing metabolism for someone with ED are good.

  30. Edward

    Hi Maria,

    I do check my email but I also get a LOT of email from curious people.

    I do believe I recommended potatoes for acne, I have recommended them to several people who have had issues with blackheads and the potatoes have helped.

    There are several posts on here from over the years describing what I eat but at some point I’ll try to give a more detailed methodology.

    I eat sugar when I have the inclination to eat something sweet.

    I have no constructive opinion of Matt Stone.

    To discus ED we’d have to agree on a definition of ED.

  31. Maria

    Edward thanks for the reply. Why do you not have constructive opinion about Matt Stone? What you would recommend to someone with ED who under eats and is under weight? What foods?

    Matt recommends a lot food in recovery, but low PUFA too, so I think his recommendations are not that bad.

  32. Andy

    Why do you recommend potatoes for acne?

    I thought that potatoes would be one food that would ferment very easily and could cause stomach troubles and allow some unfavourable bacteria to thrive?

  33. Edward

    Hi Andy, I noticed a long time ago that when I ate potatoes in humane quantities i.e. normal amounts, that they cleared up the blackheads on my nose, not really sure why. The thinking behind resistant starch being undesirable is a black and white logic that doesn’t mesh well in the real world. I’m sure that it depends on the person, potatoes have a lot of desirable nutrition and if they taste good to you and they don’t bother you should eat them. I had noticed that while they did clear up my blackheads at some points they did seem to bother my stomach but it was highly dependent on the cooking method.

  34. Edward

    Hi Maria, I don’t have a constructive opinion of Matt Stone because I don’t follow his work so I can’t give a reliable opinion on him.

    For some one who is under weight and under eats which is likely the cause of ED among other things, I would recommend that they see a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders.

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