Don’t Give Up


Today you are scared.  You are hopeful.  You are optimistic.  But you are scared.

Today the insanity of Christmas eating finally and truly comes to an abrupt end.  Today you have chosen, and the rest of the world will finally let you, to start over with your eating.  You—will—eat—better.  But why the fear?  What’s that niggle?  Niggle—go away!  Go away!  Niggle won’t go away.  What’s it saying?  Let’s listen.

It is saying, “You failed.  Last year you failed.  The year before that you failed.  And the year before that you failed.  You always fail.  You’re no good at this.  This year, you will fail too.  It is just a matter of time before you fail.  The journey is too great.  It’s too big.  Too overwhelming.”  Is the niggle right?  Have you failed?  Are you starting your New Year in doubt?  Is it too much to take on?

I understand your doubt.  Historically speaking, your doubt is right.  The precedent has been set.  The journey is big.  But I challenge you.  I challenge you to permanent change.  Forever change.  A forever diet.  A diet that when there is turbulence and chaos all around you, you can run back to its safe harbor.  Oh, yes!  Yes!  Tell me!  What is it?  Well, I cannot tell you your “forever diet.”  You must seek it out for yourself.  But there are some good common starting points that if you implement, will get you pretty darn close.  Start here.  And for now, try thinking in absolutes, despite what the “diet” experts say.

The rules I either play by–or have played by:

1.  Eat no processed food.  Eat no processed food.  Eat no processed food.  If sugar was added, put it back.  If flavor was added put it back.  If color was added, put it back.  If preservatives were added, put it back.  If it has been bleached or ground, you should strongly consider putting it back.  You will eat no processed food.

2.  This is important. Keep a spiral bound notebook of lined paper on the kitchen counter. Write everything down which passes your lips each day.  Best if you eyeball measure it too if you are struggling with low weight or excess weight.  You will do this for at least six months.  Up to two years, depending on how mired down you are.  In this notebook, besides what you eat, you will briefly note each day how you feel and ANY bodily symptoms too.  The goal is to see patterns in what you eat and how you feel and function.  It takes months, so keep at it!  Don’t get lazy.  Don’t get settled.  Don’t get down.  Write it down.  This notebook is your accountability partner.  It’s watching you so you can watch yourself.

3.  Eliminate all grains and dairy foods for thirty days. Pick your 30 days and steel yourself. Do this fanatically.  No cheating.  Some bodies do not do well with grains and dairy.  They just don’t.  Cheating is like picking the scab off of your boo-boos. Boo-boos don’t heal if the scabs keep getting picked. So make the 30 day test a strict one or else you will not get an honest response from your body.

  • When you bring grains and dairy back in, don’t bring them in at the same time. Pick either grains or dairy to start with. Don’t bring both back in together.
  • When grains come back in, do so one grain at a time, preferably starting with gluten-free grains. (Geesh, this will take forever. No. Not forever. Just a long time.)
  • Write in your notebook. Notice how you felt those 30 days without dairy and grains. Observe if food cravings pick back up when you start eating them again. Observe if your grouchy mood comes back. Or your “yell voice.” Or your acne. Or your constipation. Write it down. Take the food group back out if something seemed to come back, even if you are incredulous that they could be related!
  • If you see that grains and dairy DO have a strange hold over you, that’s no good. Talk to a nutritionist about how to develop a good diet without grains and dairy. It can be done. “What will I eat?” There is plenty. Take your choice be a sick, grumpy butt with grains and dairy—or seek out a new forever diet which is nutritious and keeps you feeling good and smiling. It is your choice. Others have gone before you, and they are looking back at you, saying, “Come on. Come on. The waters are good. (So are the apples and Brussels.)”  And also look into “leaky gut” to see if tackling this issue would help you be able to introduce certain grain and dairy products that you think would benefit you.5. Regulate sugar (in ALL its forms) like it’s the last $20 you have to your name, and you don’t know if and when you’ll get more.

6.  Use fats and oils to flavor your foods to taste. To make this easy for now, because it is a complex topic, stick with extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.  (Butter is good after you’ve made sure you tolerate it.)  These two fats have good health properties and studies now behind them.  Use them to make your unprocessed foods taste yummy.  You need to let go of the fat-free fad.  We don’t like food fads.  Fat-free was a food fad.  Well, actually it was a misunderstanding!

7. Choose foods you like, but make sure they are not processed. Try some new foods you’re afraid of.

8. Find some seafood you like and tolerate.

9. Eat lots of vegetables. Plan meals around vegetables. Don’t limit yourself to salads.  Roast them.  Boil them.  Mash them.  Grate them.  Fill your plate with them.  Roasted are my favorite, by the way.  Roasted till they have a golden brown color and then splashed with some olive oil and salt.

When you have this down, if you’re still not feeling well, don’t be afraid to look deeper.  But I’ll betcha’ you’ll be pert near close.


This would be a great start to your journey.  Don’t be afraid.  Don’t give up.  Don’t fight the same battle over and over in the same darn way.  Regarding diet, it is often said that people don’t do well with absolutes.  They do better with moderation.  For some people, I think that is true.  For others, like me, I think that is a gross lie.  I have done well the last two-three years with a mind set that acknowledges that I simply can’t have certain things.  Period.  I did beat my head in several times (lots of times), but with honesty, I moved to the secure knowledge that I am safe if I abstain.  It hurt to admit I wasn’t strong enough to control my eating.  But in this way, this more absolute way, I have found success.

So do you think your forever diet might need to be more absolute?  No.  I know you don’t want it to be.  But that’s not what I asked.  Don’t try a new diet per se.  Try a new mindset.  Find out what control food has over you, and then break those bonds.  Stay away from processed foods.  Stay away from sugar.  Figure out other weak links, like dairy and grains.

And lastly–

I do caution people about vitamin and mineral deficits.  Our processed foods are supplemented with artificial forms of vitamins to try to make up for common deficits.  Those deficits can’t be ignored just because you’re eating a “good” diet!  The common deficits are the B vitamins, vitamin D, iodine, and calcium.  Usually by making sure you eat salmon, seafood, some red meat, eggs, lots of leafy greens (particularly spinach and kale), and broccoli, you do a pretty good job covering bases.  Sometimes a calcium supplement or iodized salt or other supplementation may be needed.  See your doctor for health problems.  Don’t be an ostrich.  Take good care of yourself.

Good luck!  You can do it!  Take the first step, and each day, just keep stepping.  Use your accountability tablet.  Absolutely avoid processed food.  Regulate sugar.  Watch out for pesky foods which cause side effects.


23 thoughts on “Don’t Give Up

  1. Boundless

    re: Some bodies do not do well with grains and dairy.

    No (zero) bodies do well with grains.

    Some bodies do not do well with bovine dairy (but that can change some time after the grains are gone).

    For those who react to bovine dairy, consider caprine dairy.
    You’ve always wanted goats, right? 🙂

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I am not enough prepared to defend myself for the complete truth of that statement. Here’s how I can walk around the elephant so far. (What would you add?):

      That grains are inflammatory (as can be nuts and nightshades).

      That grains pack a high carbohydrate load (like bananas and sweet potatoes) and that carbohydrates are beneficial, but that many people’s carbohydrate metabolisms are broken and suffer from grains (and bananas and sweet potatoes).

      That nobody needs to eat grains to be healthy and would be better served relying on a WELL-PLANNED diet of vegetables, squashes, fruits, seafood/sea veggies, eggs, and meats/organ meats. (And a few inflammatory nuts) (and if their FODMAPS and SIBO allow much in the way of veggies and fruits)

      That a person who is dealing with any kind of chronic illness (autoimmune, IBS, cholesterol, rashes, thyroid, etc) would benefit from completely removing grains (and other inflammatory foods, including dairy/nuts/probably more) to allow the body to have a break from dealing with food inflammation so it can focus on repair rather than defend.

      That grains can bind minerals up, making them less likely to be absorbed, but so does the phytic acid in nuts and seeds. (And the oxalate in spinach makes its calcium null)

      That grains can be addictive/habit-forming in some people. (I can’t back that one up really well yet; I don’t feel the studies I’ve read really back that up. Of course, I haven’t dug deep yet. But I think it’s true, from observation.)

      I can argue that grains which are ground on the spot or eaten whole offer vitamin E and abundant B vitamins. Good nutrients. American diets, even the “healthy” ones or the ones on certain “diets,” still manage to run on the high side of low on these vitamins.

      That some grains promote growth of short chain fatty acid producing bacteria (including butyrate), a good thing. (But there are other ways for sure!)

      That grains feed the masses inexpensively.

      So, I think I’m more prepared to state that grains should be removed from any struggling body (obesity, food addiction, diabetes, high cholesterol, any autoimmune illness, headaches, skin rashes, ADHD, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, you name some more), but that it must be done in such a way that people are funneling in all those same nutrients that grains can give (fortified too), AND MORE. And once they’re feeling and functioning great, a slow trial of truly whole grains (fresh ground if ground), one at a time is warranted if they so desire, with complete honesty about how it’s going with grains.

      I LOVE Manchego. You? You like Manchego? And how do you “walk around” your thoughts on grains, for and against? What did I leave out? Help me learn and communicate. Happy Sunday!


      1. Boundless

        re: What would you add?

        Got one or more chronic non-infectious ailments?
        Try low carb high fat grain-free for 30 days and see what happens.
        Those who do, rarely recidivate.

        You neglected to mention the protein hazards of gluten-bearing grains, and that leads to enumerating hazards on a grain-by-grain basis. With rice, for example, there is a significant risk of arsenic (this is a recent development, and not due to pesticides; and organic non-GMO won’t help). Oats might as well be sugar, and that’s true of many others.

        Heirloom doesn’t help. Ötzi the Iceman tells us: eat neolithic seeds of grasses – get neolithic diseases, in his case; bad teeth and a fully manifested genetic tendency to heart disease, plus another problem still being teased out in the lab.

        re: … some grains promote growth of short chain fatty acid producing bacteria (including butyrate), a good thing.

        About the only benefit to whole grains is as prebiotic (assuming a healthy spectrum of gut bugs are present). Those abandoning grains need to up their prebiotic fiber from other sources, and probably do a course of quality probiotics. I use green bananas and raw potato starch routinely. Optimizes outcomes among other things. I consider the gluten-bearing grains to be a gut biome antagoist, by the way, in addition to the leaky gut threat they present.

        problem: phytic acid in nuts and seeds
        solution: nutrient partitioning

        I understand the anti-nutrient effect to be transient, and defeated by merely shifting the at-risk nutrients to a different meal.

        re: … offer vitamin E and abundant B vitamins …

        Modern humans not on an ancestral diet (and that would be most of us) are at risk for a variety of significant micronutrient deficiencies, and this probably leads to supplements. We take ’em, and review the list annually. Eating seeds of grasses to get them is a seriously inequitable bargain.

        re: That grains feed the masses inexpensively.

        It only seems that way. It’s a heavily subsidized industry with a lot of hidden costs*. The same acreage, used more intelligently (see Joel Salatin, Polyface Farms) can actually produce more (and more suitable) nutrition, sustainably, organically, and without price supports or needing a disastrous government bureaucracy (the USDA) to promote it.

        re: Manchego

        I’m not sure I’ve tried it, but making cheese is on the list once our herd is back in milk.

        re: And how do you “walk around” your thoughts on grains, for and against?

        Hand out copies of Wheat Belly Total Health?
        * Perhaps the biggest hidden cost of the grain-based SAD is the exponentially rising cost of medical “care” for the appalling side effects. T2D alone …

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I, like you, am biased against grains. That is pretty much all the literature I’ve been reading for the last 2 1/2 years. I see the pain they cause. But I think, after I knock out lots of other topics I need to right now, I still need to make sure that I’ve explored the other side. Maybe the other side is as it appears and truly grains are “that bad.” I’m glad we had this exchange for any reader who reads comments (I always do!) and struggles with the idea of going grain-free. Some people have NEVER heard this idea at all, ever. And it would help them tremendously. And I know I have not written a post specifically on it (although all those topics you hit on could be posts like crazy!).

        Oats do cultivate butyrate production.

        Here’s a link for anyone interested on the farm Boundless mentioned:

        Wheat Belly Total Health has been skimmed and is set up to be read on vacation.

        Thanks, Boundless.


      3. Boundless

        > Oats do cultivate butyrate production.

        Yes, but at what cost? According to Bill Davis they are second only to modern wheat in provoking blood sugar. This might be mitigated to some extent by eating the grains whole, and hoping that they pass undigested to the lower intestine.

        Or just use oat bran (that really is just oat bran), but even so, using Bob’s Red Mill as an example, a serving is still 20 grams of net carbs.

        Anyone experimenting with oats needs to keep the glucometer handy. I prefer to use less problematic prebiotic fibers like green banana and raw potato starch.

        The same is true for magnesium and folic acid from wheat. Get it somewhere else (and wheat FLOUR only has folic acid because it’s added to it).

        Leaving aside the adverse proteins (e.g. the gluten-bearing grains, and cross-contam from same, which oats are prone to), the biggest problem with grains is net carbs. The USDA tells us to get 60% of our calories from grains (which translates to wheat, really). “Whole grains” only turns the damage dial from 100 to 95. Set it to zero.

        T2D is the poster child for this mess. It’s not just high. It’s not just rising. It may still be accelerating. This entirely optional ailment, which is not a “disease”, is direct result of the sugar- and grain-fueled Standard American Diet. I’ve said so many times on the Wheat Belly Blog, and Bill Davis (an ex-T2D) seems to concur:
        I’ve also said it on Peter Attia’s blog, at:

      4. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Good. Good. Good. I can echo at what cost! I can definitely agree on all that you said.

        Off topic a little, more on the expense/farming practices/etc. I havent read on it, but my husband told me last night that the new nutrition guidelines were going to come out AND will be tied to environmental factors. Forget health. Know about this? And i know, as you do, this could all be sustainably done, the way you and j eat. And help health.

        On phone. Apologize for typos.


      5. Boundless

        > … new nutrition guidelines were going to come out.

        Heard of it. Haven’t dared look. I mean, how could this Administration possibly improve on
        “move more, eat less”?

        I’m frankly expecting them to do for nutrition what they did for race relations, police safety and the spread of exotic tropical diseases (ebola got all the headlines, but EVD68 is killing more people here).

        >… AND will be tied to environmental factors.

        Swell – something the USDA actually knows less about than nutrition. Our grain-based agriculture is a pantheon of parallel disasters in that regard.

        > Forget health.

        Sounds like the recent “just bad luck” headlines on cancer. The anointed are unable to admit that their dogma (somatic theory on cancer, CICO on diet) could possibly be mistaken, so let’s just give up and focus elsewhere.

      6. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        But I have hope. A few med school friends are coming around. They’ve been listening to me for about two and a half years now. Some have implemented some of what I have shared and have had great results for themselves and their families. I am happy about this! Slowly and surely. They thought I was a bit over the top when I started.

        Keep commenting places like you do! People who are trying to figure out what may help them really read that stuff!

      7. Boundless

        re: Manchego is sheep cheese!

        Ah, then I guess we won’t be making any. The herd’s not back in milk yet anyway.

  2. MikeW

    Hi Doc. Great inspirational start to the New Year! Sorry to be away so long. Start-up equals immersion. All’s well, and looking forward to some more frequent drop-ins. Hope all’s superb for you on all fronts.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Oh, Mike! So good to see your Avatar! I am glad that all is well. You know I always think about you when I incorporate strength and flexibility training into my housework! I hope you got things running the way you want to and business is good! I am happy to say that we are superb here and not ashamed to say I hope it stays that way! No worries about dropping in. But if you get some posts up, I sure do love the photography and views and thoughts.


      1. MikeW

        Thanks much Terri! So glad to hear your good report. Grateful here for many people and reasons. Hope to pick up the blog again soon, and put out another, shorter book. All good tidings to all of you there.

  3. Jackie

    Great pep talk!

    I thought I hadn’t seen any of your posts in my WordPress reader because you were busy with the holidays and the new baby. Here I find out I somehow wasn’t following you anymore!!


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