Seattle WAPF on Facebook

Just a quick note for those in the Seattle area. Working with the chapter leader of the Seattle Weston A. Price Whole Food Nutrition Meetup group, I created a Facebook page for our group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/seattle.wapf/

The Meetup group gets together about once a month. We have a potluck and then usually a presentation. Anyone can join. Our meetings are almost always held in the Ballard neighborhood at Firefly Kitchens.

I brought 2 jars of this ferment to to our Meetup last evening. 

If you don’t know who Weston A. Price is, then check out these posts.

The Peat-atarian Diet For Those Of Us With Average IQs

I read a lot of stuff regarding nutrition. It has been an active hobby of mine since 2008. Although it was the Paleo Diet that rekindled my interest in nutrition, today I consider myself more in the Weston A. Price camp. I explained why in the post The Endgame for Paleo is WAPF. I’ve been successful on both diets. Earlier this year I started reading about the dietary views of Dr. Ray Peat and his followers. Unlike Paleo or WAPF, which are easy to understand on the surface, the Peat-atarian articles are quite intense. They aren’t user friendly.

What makes the Peat Diet unique is that it approaches nutrition from a hormonal perspective. It is all about reducing chronic stress. To me the Peat Diet appears to be a modern fix to the WAPF Diet. Traditional diets worked great for traditional cultures. But we now live in a world with chronic stress and dietary toxins. Simply following a traditional diet or going caveman may not be enough or may not work as quickly as a diet designed specifically to address the hormonal stress of modern times.

If like me, you have an average IQ and you start to dive into understanding all the hormonal relationships, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed. The purpose of this post is to just hit the important differences, why they exist and who might benefit the most from experimenting with this diet.

Paleo vs Primal vs WAPF vs Peat

On the surface it may appear that The Peat Diet is a radical departure from Paleo, but it isn’t. It has more in common with Paleo and WAPF than it does with USDA recommendations.

 
Paleo
Primal
WAPF
Peat
GrainsNONOYES (treated only)NO
DairyNOYESYESYES
SoyNONOYES (fermented only)NO
Fermented FoodsYESYESYESNO
"Salt is Good"YESYESYESYES
"Sugar is Good"NONONOYES
Offal + Bone BrothYESYESYESYES
NutsYESYESYES (treated only)NO
Avoid PUFA (Omega 6)YESYESYESYES
Avoid PUFA (Omega 3)NONONOYES
"Saturated Fat is Good"YESYESYESYES

I’ve bolded the two main differences.

#1 Sugar – Every diet under the sun seems to loathe sugar. Not Ray Peat. At a hormonal level sugar can be used to reduce stress and boost metabolism. This protocol seems to be effective with people that have stalled in their fat loss while following a strict low carbohydrate diet. Give your body some sugar, reduce the internal stress, boost metabolism and resume fat loss. Using sugar to improve your health seems like a bizarre idea at first, but a few years ago we used to think saturated fats were evil and now we love them.

My own N=1 experiment this year was consuming ice cream daily. Although I haven’t become fully convinced sugar is good. I’m no longer convinced it is bad. My health is as good in 2012 as it was in 2011, when I avoided sugar. So given equal outcomes, I’m going to eat ice cream. :)

#2 Avoid Omega 3 – This is a big idea to wrap your head around. PUFAs aren’t just evil, they are super evil and that includes Omega 3 fats. It took me a while to grasp this concept and the motivation behind this recommendation. The typical person today will have high levels of inflammatory fat as a result of excessive PUFA. Depending upon whom you read, it can take 4 or more years to get rid of it. The way to get rid of it quickest is to eliminate all forms of PUFA.

This recommendation leads to the mathematical conclusion that a Peat Diet will be higher in carbs and lower in fat. I saw one chart that estimated a Peat Diet was 50% carbs, 25% fat and 25% protein. When you reduce your intake of bad fats (PUFA), you’ll also be reducing all fats. When fats go down, carbs must go up. Although I suppose one could eat fistfuls of coconut oil to boost the fat level, it isn’t necessary since the carbs are boosting metabolism.

What I Like

Besides their love of ice cream, one of the things I really like about the Peat diet is how it places importance on bone broth and offal. This is the best idea in the WAPF camp. Use the entire animal and not just the muscle meat. Ray Peat’s writings explain a hormonal reason why that is important. From his article  Gelatin, stress, longevity:

When only the muscle meats are eaten, the amino acid balance entering our blood stream is the same as that produced by extreme stress, when cortisol excess causes our muscles to be broken down to provide energy and material for repair. The formation of serotonin is increased by the excess tryptophan in muscle, and serotonin stimulates the formation of more cortisol, while the tryptophan itself, along with the excess muscle-derived cysteine, suppresses the thyroid function.

I love this. Traditional cultures unknowingly knew how to properly use the entire animal to the benefit of their thyroid.

3 jars of beef bone stock

What I Dislike

The Peat Diet is against fermented foods. The reason is that the body apparently considers lactic acid stressful to process. Ray also doesn’t like negative weight lifting movements, as they produce a lot of lactic acid. I may have an average IQ, but I think the Peat-atarians are wrong on this point. First of all, anyone that has ever started a weight lifting program using negative lifts knows the body adapts quickly. The extreme soreness you experience on workout one gets less and less with subsequent workouts. This tells me that the body learns to deal with the stress rather quickly. Also, you need far fewer workouts so rest time between workouts is increased, which reduces stress.

As for fermented foods, I’m going to side with traditional cultures on this one. Having access to fresh vegetables year round is such a recent phenomenon. Fermentation is how we preserved veggies and dairy. The nutritional value and safety of foods increase when they are fermented. Even if there was a slight stress response, there are so many benefits from fermentation.

Another thing I dislike about the Peat Diet and their obsession with eliminating stress is that there doesn’t seem to be any discussion of hormetic stress. Should stress always be avoided? Or should we introduce episodic stressors and teach our bodies how to adapt in a positive manner? As someone that believes strongly in the benefits of Intermittent Fasting and Cold Weather Training, you know where I stand.

Should You Try This Diet?

There is a lot to this diet that I didn’t cover. As a person with an average IQ that is not a PubMed Warrior, it appears to me that the person most likely to benefit from this diet will be someone that has had a long history with dieting, specifically low-carb dieting. Weight loss has stalled. Most likely the person is female and possibly with a low thyroid. Ideally the person would be able to handle dairy. That is not to say others wouldn’t benefit, but that seems like the person that would get the most results.

The problem with this diet is the message is hard to understand. Hopefully this post clarified some of the differences. In a future post, I will list some quick start ideas on how to transition from Paleo/WAPF to a Peat diet. Note that I am not endorsing this diet, but I do believe it has merit and can benefit some people. I’ll eat the ice cream, but I’m not giving up my kimchi. :)

The Endgame for Paleo is WAPF

There have been a few popular Weston A. Price (WAPF) bloggers that have attacked the Paleo diet. I understand some of their criticisms, but dislike their techniques. I find that the two diets to be highly complimentary. For those new to these terms, check out my post Paleo vs Weston Price. I like the Paleo diet as a starting spot. Turning back your diet 10,000 years is a great way to reboot your internal operating system. Dropping the neolithic poisons and eating a diet made up of foods our ancestors thrived upon is an effective strategy many have used to improve their health.

As much as I like the Paleo diet as a starting point, I prefer a Weston A. Price approach to nutrition. Paleo is good at figuring out what foods to eat. Weston A Price focuses not only on foods and food quality, but also food preparation. Paleo is about bringing the food back to the cave. Weston A. Price takes it from there and figures out how to extract the maximum nutrition from that food. Fermentation, soaking, sprouting, making stocks and organ meats.

What really appeals to me about the Weston A. Price approach is how different cultures in completely different parts of the planet that had no way to communicate with each other, independently came up with similar solutions to food preparation. Only when modern cultures rejected traditional food preparation in favor of convenience and cost saving did health begin to decline. Nutritional science is just beginning to catch up to what our ancestors knew about food.

Recently I had sopa de pata at an El Salvadorian restaurant. This soup includes beef feet, tendons and tripe cooked slowly with vegetables including yucca, corn, cabbage and onions. Not only did it taste amazing, but I felt great afterwards. There is some ancestral wisdom in that soup. 

To stay completely Paleo without embracing elements of Weston A. Price is to reject thousands of years of ancestral knowledge. On my nutritional journey, I am more interested in learning recipes from traditional cultures than pouring through PubMed looking for ammo to defend a dietary position. Sharing a homemade sauerkraut with friends is far more enjoyable than debating carbs or calories. One of my favorite TV shows is Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. He travels the world eating traditionally prepared cuisines – often from restaurants with multi-generational history.

Learning more and more about nutrition now seems a waste of time to me. It’s all about the food.

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Collection 6/Part 1
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Collection 6/Part 1

Making Lentil Dal

I’m continuing my journey into Indian cooking. My most recent challenge was the lentil dal. I’ve always loved this soup when I’ve gone to Indian restauaunts, but I had not tried to make it at home yet. Glad I did, because not only was it super tasty, it was super easy.

Not Paleo! WAPF to the Rescue!

Paleo diets are very much anti-legume. From the article Foods to Avoid on The Paleo Diet:

Legumes have a similar story to grains; they weren’t consumed by the paleo hunter-gatherer because they needed to be cooked in order to be edible. Legumes also have similar traits to grains in their make-up; they contain phytates which inhibit nutrient absorption and cause inflammation. They also contain lectins and play with healthy hormonal functions.

I don’t disagree with the above statement, however the WAPF (Weston A Price Foundation) focuses more on food preparation. They have learned how traditional cultures prepared legumes to deal with those problems. Our ancestors used soaking, sprouting and fermenting to lower the anti-nutrient properties of legumes. Soaking and sprouting also reduces the cooking time, which would have been important to traditional cultures without supplies of easily accessible energy.

Nutrition aside, I feel much better after consuming beans that have been soaked and sprouted. You don’t experience any of the negative issues often associated with eating beans.

sprouted lentils

Sprout those lentils!

When I went to make dal, like so many other Indian recipes I found an endless and often contradictory advice. But I summoned my David Lynch wisdom and created this wonderful soup. Don’t let a missing ingredient (other than the lentils) stop you from making this soup. Dial up the heat with spices or the creaminess with coconut milk. It all works.

Recipe: Lentil Dal

Summary: A soaked and sprouted lentil dal recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dry lentils (they will expand after soaking/sprouting)
  • 3 cups of filtered water
  • 3 gloves of garlic
  • 1-2 inch piece of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1-2 hot peppers (your call on the heat, use what you got)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cooking oil (butter, ghee, coconut oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or chili powder (optional)
  • 1/3 can of coconut milk or coconut cream (optional)
  • chopped cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. Soak and sprout lentils (see the tutorial on I Believe In Butter).
  2. Add lentils, turmeric, salt and water to saucepan and bring to simmer.
  3. In a skillet, toast cumin seeds 1-2 minutes then grind (or set aside ground cumin).
  4. Chop up garlic, ginger and hot pepper.
  5. Cook garlic, ginger and hot pepper for a few minutes and then toss into lentil saucepan.
  6. Add cumin into lentils.
  7. Add coconut milk/cream to lentils.
  8. Add cayenne/chili powder to lentils.
  9. (optional) Use an immersion blender on the lentils for a few seconds if you like a more creamy texture. (I did)
  10. I cooked the lentils for about 20 minutes. Let taste decide.
  11. (optional) Add chopped cilantro to top.
  12. Serve.

lentil dal

Lentil dal soup.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s) (plus sprouting time for the lentils)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Culinary tradition: Indian (Northern)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)