We're back with Q&A #9 with Robb and Nicki.
Remember to submit your own questions for Robb and Nicki to answer on a future show here: https://robbwolf.com/contact/submit-a-question-for-the-podcast/
1. [2:06] Kidney Stones
I've been mostly Paleo for about 5 years now based on one of your piror books. Overall, it has worked well for me, with one exception. I started to develop kidney stones on a regular basis. I finally had them analyzed and they turned out to be calcium oxalate stones. Upon reading up on this condition, it stems from a high amount of oxalate in the diet. Unfortunatley, most of the foods I liked on Paleo happen to be super high in oxalate... spinach, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, sweet potatoes. The other wammy here is that I was initially avoiding dairy on Paleo which turns out to be worse for stones because one way to counteract high oxalate intake is to match it with high calcium to avoid stone formation. I've since gone back to eating plenty of cheese and high fat dairy in my diet.
I'm curious if this is a common issue that you've seen and I'm wondering if this is something that might be helped by going to a keto diet.
2. [5:33] Sugar addiction
I am really hoping you can give me some insight into why I can't seem to fully recover from sugar addiction. I have had a sweet tooth my whole life, but in recent years I have learned that I have a true addiction to sugar. In the last four years or so, I have studied a lot of nutrition, functional medicine and ancestral health perspectives and gone on a strict paleo diet for months at a time. In almost every way, a clean diet of whole foods makes me feel amazing (better sleep, clearer skin, joints and movement feels better, etc.), except, I become very depressed. It's not a mopey, weepy kind of depressed, it's literally a depression of all feeling, like I feel very little at all. But I do sometimes feel really, really irritable, or sometimes bouts of rage that don’t match the situations they arise in. But most of the time, I just feel blah. I thought this would go away after a couple of weeks or even a month or two of eating clean, but it didn't. In happy or exciting moments, it was like I just couldn't feel those emotions fully. I also noticed that I didn't crack jokes like I usually do or feel like being social. All my feelings were dulled. Even sad ones. And when I did fall off the diet, and eat sugar, I immediately felt cheerful again. To me, it seems that the years of sugar abuse have altered my brain enough that without sugar, I can't feel normal emotions anymore. So my question is concerning healing my brain. Is it possible to reverse these effects? The longest I have gone on a strict paleo diet is three months. I admit it was hard to keep going when I just didn't see myself ever feeling happy again. If it's possible to heal my brain and increase its capacity for proper dopamine signaling again, are there certain therapies or supplements that can precipitate and accelerate that healing? Perhaps I am ignorant of some other factor or mechanism at work here. I would be grateful for any insight or help you can give. Thanks for the incredible work you do to bring to light the truth about human health and nutrition.
Carb 22: https://carbsyndrome.com/nutraceuticals-new/
STEM Talk Episode 69 (David LeMay): https://www.ihmc.us/stemtalk/episode-69/
3. [11:32] Metabolic Flexibility and Weight Loss/Maintenance
Robb and Nicki,
I am very interested in the concept of metabolic flexibility and eagerly waiting to hear your upcoming lecture on this topic. Intuitively it makes sense that given variation in season and climate that humans would have relied on a menu of macronutrient combinations. My question is: how can developing metabolic flexibility be used as tool for weight loss/maintenance? I have been about 90% ketogenic for the past 28 months; the other 10% would be high carb meals which I have allowed as a metabolically flexible person. I can swing in and out of ketosis with ease; however, I have noticed that if I go through periods of higher carb, it does result in weight gain which is tough to lose even when reentering ketosis. I do crossfit almost daily and practice the 18:6 IF schedule, and I don't notice either of those things affecting my performance. Thanks!
4. [16:31] Low afternoon energy
Hi Robb and Nicki,
Thank you both for all you do! I've been a huge fan since 2010 and admire your relentless pursuit of the truth when it comes to health and nutrition.
My question is about my extremely low energy in the early afternoons. I know it is a common complaint, but I feel like I've done everything I can to fix the common mistakes that lead to the afternoon slump, and I also feel like my exhaustion is too extreme to be normal for my age and health status.
I'm 32 years old, I eat low carbish (75-100g most days), have toyed with keto, eat mostly paleo with the addition of some dairy and occasional non gluten grains. I do crossfit 3x/week and spend most of my time chasing my 2 year old around. My sleep is good most of the time, and I do not have any major life stressors that effect me currently. No diagnosed health conditions, no rx meds.
I had bloodwork done recently, and my doctor was very impressed with the results, especially my blood lipids. A1c was 4.8, C-reactive protein 0.8, no thyroid antibodies present. Fasting blood sugar 78. The only things that were slightly out of range were homocysteine (slightly low at 4.6), Uric acid low at 2.4, serum iron slightly high at 148, and my free T3 was a little low at 2.5. Another Doctor years ago prescribed me naturethroid but I never took it.
Ive tried changing my diet in every way imaginable to try to combat a possible hypoglycemic or food sensitivity related slump after lunch. I've eliminated various foods that people can be sensitive to,and ive even tried more carbs in the morning, but that leads to blood sugar imbalance and cravings all day. As a result, my breakfasts and lunches would fall under the keto umbrella, as I feel better when I eat carbs later in the day.
The only thing that seems to slightly help is not eating at all, but I just get so hungry! My activity level is fairly high and I don't feel like I'm a great candidate for intermittent fasting at this point.
My mom, who has had MS for about 30 years, does not eat all day and only eats dinner because she's says eating makes her tired. I just can't handle not eating at all, and I do feel fatigued and hypoglycemic if I try to skip meals.
Thanks for reading and for all you do!!
5. [23:08] Carb test and ketosis
I read Wired to Eat while I was pretty deep into a ketotic cycle, so I didn't immediately get to the 7-day carb test. Years of self-experimentation have led me to a relatively low carb (<50g/day) Paleo diet with an occasional 48 hour fast, an occasional ketotic cycle, and a very occasional carb re-feed. Genetic testing revealed some SNPs that predispose me to insulin resistance, and others that positively affect my fat metabolism, reinforcing the fact that I look, feel, and perform better eating in this fashion. I do enjoy my occasional carb binges, so I'd like to perform the carb test in order to whittle my food selections down to those least damaging to my metabolism; but I'm concerned that my postprandial blood glucose readings will be skewed upward because I don't regularly eat more than ten or fifteen grams of effective carbs at a time. Should I bring my daily and per-meal carb intake up for a certain period of time before starting the carb test, or is a 50 gram bolus of carbs small enough to give me a true measure of glucose tolerance for the purpose of food selection? Thanks in advance.
6. [27:30] Creativity and Writing Process
I hope all is well. I'm a big fan of the Podcast and excited about the Q & A return. I have a two-parter both within the same general idea.
I'm a writer and I am alway curious about how others approach the creative process. I was curious if you could elaborate on how you approach writing and creativity in regards to balancing an active lifestyle? And how a typical day when writing might look.
For example -- Do you do things like meditate? What time of the day do you write? Where do you write? If you write in the morning how do you reconcile with hanging outside first thing in the morning to get some sun? If you do Jujutsu around noon and roll for 2 hours how do you write around it? You've mentioned eating big meals in the morning, if you're in a heavy writing period, is this a habit you stick with? Oh by the way, you have a wife and kids... how do you balance it all?
Do you still do caffeine? Do you force yourself to take breaks during writing? How do you avoid sitting for 5/6 hours straight?
Sorry for all the questions, I've just been thinking about this a lot lately as I enter into a career pursuing my passion as a writer while trying to balance and prioritize my health. As I am sure you can attest, writing can be all consuming if you let it and setting boundaries is vital -- though difficult, especially if you're in "the zone." So I'd love to hear your thoughts.
I'd love to get your thoughts on the mechanisms at play when writing or doing anything else that requires intense mental focus in regards to willpower. Correct me if I am wrong, but it feels like for me, many aspects of writing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle (choosing healthy food over shitty stuff, hitting the gym, walking, etc.) can drain from the same willpower tank (if not just psychologically, and physically -- physiologically as well). This isn't to say that both can't exist -- rather does one need to be given priority based on ordering of events throughout the day?
For example, I feel my creativity comes to me first thing in the morning. If I were to wake up and hit a Metcon first thing, I feel my creativity gets depleted from the shared willpower tank. I feel this to be true with little things that chip away at my early morning start time as well. For example, taking the time to make a big healthy breakfast, sitting in the sun, even a short walk, all delay me tapping into when I feel I am creatively primed -- but is it worth the sacrifice of my health?
I was curious if you have any thoughts on when or how you prioritize creativity. Or maybe this is all just a bunch of bullshit like Robert Rodriguez says -- and our creativity is totally out of our control.
Anyways, love the show and everything you do. If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.