The Food Poisoning Diet

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I’m interrupting my blog vacation to tell you about an amazing diet that I stumbled upon. You can lay in bed all weekend, sleep most of it if you like and lose weight! Absolutely no exercise required. No special supplements required either!

On Friday afternoon I had 3 tacos an authentic taco place in Redwood City, CA. One lengua and two beef cheeks. Later that afternoon I felt bad. By that night I felt awful. For four days I was in pain. I had almost no appetite. I slept more than I have in my entire adult life. When I did eat, all I could stomach was white rice and Coke. I also was able to eat fruit.

Prior to my feeling awful and during the weekend, I ate nectarines that I purchased at Costco. On the 4th day, I received an alert that those nectarines had been recalled due to listeria concerns. I stopped eating them and threw the remainder away.

By day 5, I was much better and my day 6 all better.

I’ve had food poisoning in Mexico (of course) and Malaysia. Both were from fancy places. This experience was far worse than those two combined.

The result of my food poisoning diet was I lost a little more than 1/2 inch off my waist. Probably unsustainable, but I thought it was worth sharing. I think the problem was from the sketchy meat and not the fruit, but I have no way of knowing. I do know that I have lost all interest in exploring the taco culture in my new city for the time being. And I’ll be sticking to the apples for my next few Costco trips.

When I had no desire to eat, I consciously choose to eat white rice with salt because not only was it easy to make, but it wasn’t that palatable. It was neutral. I had no desire for stronger or complex flavors. When I restricted myself to neutral foods, I ate less and lost weight. I couldn’t help but think of the opposite case where food engineers design foods that consumers love so much that that easily over consume, which is described in the great book The End of Overeating.

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite
The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler

Anyway I don’t think you need to eat sketchy meat or recalled fruit to lose weight. Just try a weekend of bland food.

14 thoughts on “The Food Poisoning Diet

  1. Brock in HK

    Food poisoning sucks! Did you take anything like charcoal to help minimize the toxins in your gut from the bad bacteria? Will you take incremental probiotics to repopulate good bacteria in the gut?

  2. Aaron

    I had food poisoning in March from some oysters and had a very similar experience of only being interested in bland food. I didn’t read the Shangri La diet by Seth Roberts, but I believe he was on to using bland or flavorless food to blunt appetite.

    After my system had essentially purged itself clean naturally, and as my appetite came back, I took it as an opportunity to add lots of good bacteria and soluble fiber (even more so than usual) to reseed my gut biome.

  3. @Brock – No charcoal. Since the move I haven’t stocked any supplements. I did drink a kombucha. Not sure it helped or not. Tasted good.

    @Aaron – My appetite is probably 80% back, but that is fine since I want to lose a few pounds. 🙂

  4. Rob

    I wondered the same, charcoal or maybe bentonite clay. I bought and was going to do the Arise and Shine cleanse (still in the box). But I bet the clay, followed by fiber and expectorant (an herb mix they call “chomper”) then the probiotics would flush out the nasties. I haven’t used it because I changed my mind on such a radical cleanse. But I was think of people with SIBO using it and now in the case of food poisoning or a stomach virus.

  5. David

    I recommended a couple of months ago that you try using swimmer’s nose clips when you eat. Got that idea from Seth Roberts. That will make everything you eat less of a sensory experience. You’ll lose weight. Seemingly without effort. Much easier to do that than eat bad tacos.

  6. @David – Thanks for reminding me about this. One question I that came to me. If I begin a meal super hungry, use the plugs, reach satiety and then remove the plugs, does the hunger return quicker? IOW, does it work by delaying our perception of hunger?

    As for the tacos. I visited two other places that served the same style. Both were tasty and I had no issues. Even the 3rd place tasted fine, maybe not as good as the others, but close enough.

  7. @Rob – Yeah I do need to get some charcoal or clay, especially now that I am in a new place where everything is unfamiliar.

  8. “all I could stomach was white rice and Coke”

    Coke!!??? I honestly hope you mean cocaine, not that poisionous sugar water beverage!

  9. @mrfreddy – When a 200+ lb man has trouble eating 500 calories a day – all calories are nutritious. When I could barely get out of bed, a can of COKE was beneficial. Context is important.

  10. Good point, I see what you mean. Bet it tasted good!

    My sympathies about the food poisioning. I was in Costa Rica recently, and on the day we were coming home I came down with the worst case of food poisioning I can remember, it was incredibly painful. I wouldn’t wish that on my enemies (well, maybe one or two of them…). Took days to get rid of. And it came back a few times over the next few weeks, sort of like aftershocks. Horrible, horrible, horrible. I ate a lot of beans and rice and tried to drink a lot of water. No Cokes tho, haha.

  11. Stefan

    Ha, I was thinking the same thing when I spent a lot of time shitting and sleeping in Bolivia. On a sidenote, it was quite interesting to get to know the hospital culture there: the patient himself is running through the building all the time – talking to the doc, bringing samples to the lab, buying medicaments at the pharmacy… Wonder how this works if you’ve got a broken leg or are unconscious.

    Eating more dead foods like bread, pasta, boxed crap etc. instead of fruit, veggies and meat could have prevented that, but who wants to eat like that?

    Lost a fair amount of weight as well, though too much muscle for my liking. You do develop a strange sense of humor, though – wanting to instagram your again-solid bowel movements? Weird!

    I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon your blog – must have been researching something about fitness or nutrition. Just want to let you know that I very much lik enjoy your critical take and experiments on those topics. When I discovered that you are a coffee aficionado on top of that, it felt like finding a (much more analytical) clone 😀

    Saludos desde Rurrenabaque, Bolivia – sipping on bland espresso. Bolivian coffee is definitely not worth the trip…

  12. @Stefan – My opinion is that is it very rare to great coffee served in a country that relies heavily on coffee exports. They don’t drink their own stash. The best Bolivian coffee is in the USA and Canada. As is most Latin American coffee.

    About 6 years ago I recall going to an event at Stumptown Coffee where the farmers from a Central American country were flown into and got to experience their beans roasted and brewed in Seattle. They were amazed at how good their coffee tasted.

    The countries where I had the worse coffee were Brazil and Mexico. Best coffee USA, Canada and New Zealand.

  13. Stefan

    Definitely agree that it is difficult to get decent coffee in an exporting country, but Bolivian coffee is particularly unimpressive. Just doesn’t have anything special. Might be that none of the places used export-grade beans, but that would surprise me. Many aimed at tourists and claimed to have superior coffee.

    In Colombia for example you really have to look for a specialty café, but then you will encounter different varieties with unique characteristics. I guess I will have to try to get Bolivian beans back in Germany for my final verdict.

    Do you have insights into Costa Rican coffee culture? The most interesting cup I’ve had came from there.

  14. @Stefan – I haven’t been to Colombia or Costa Rica, but I expect their coffee culture is decades behind the Pacific Northwest.

    I have had excellent Bolivian coffee from Stumptown.
    http://buy.stumptowncoffee.com/bolivia-buenavista.html

    Another problem with coffee in tourist areas is over-roasting. Tourists want dark roasted coffee, which can hide defects, but you run the risk of tasting ashy notes. Also, darker roasted coffee goes stale much faster.

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