The OG Diet
Autophagy | Carnivory | Hormesis
Fasting & Autophagy
Food is the most definitively normalized addiction on the planet.
Eat your last meal at some point this evening, then fast for as long as you can. This is essentially the strategy I utilize when engaging in body re-compositioning.
Many people believe that fasting is risky—even I did for a while. But here’s one way to think about it from Dr. Jason Fung. ‘The fat on your body is like the food in your fridge, and the muscle on your body is like the food in your freezer.’
If you stop eating for a period of time, what’s going to happen? Is your body going to raid the food in the fridge, or will it go straight for the food in the freezer?
One thing I’ve noticed over the course of the last 6 months is that basically every calorie I consume above my resting metabolic rate is stored as fat. Yes, the liver stores excess glucose, but this is finite. This is what the body does automatically as a function of emergency storage, and it’s probably the reason so many people are dangerously overweight.
Like many truths it seems, I discovered this by accident.
For approximately two years, my primary goal was to sustainably gain about 15 lbs (obviously mostly muscle). But I foolishly believed that eating huge amounts of (healthy) food at every meal was the best way to do this. So, I ended up learning the hard way that eating and eating and eating will only improve your lean mass so much (regardless of how much you workout), and the plateau occurs rather quickly.
To give you some context, I was lean but only 120 lbs my entire adult life until the age of 28. I then embarked on a strict Paleo Diet coupled with consistent high intensity super-slow strength training for about 6 years. That brought me to a still lean but much stronger 140 lbs. However, the interesting outcome of my increase in strength and body weight over that time frame was that during the final year of that stretch, my body fat % was steadily increasing. I can’t recall the exact readings, but it went from something like 9%, all the way up to 16%.
When I eventually stopped H.I.T., but continued eating copious amounts of food and strength training with more traditional techniques, I ended up peaking at 148 lbs, but I stopped getting stronger, stopped looking as lean, and I started to feel that the extra weight was slowing me down. I suspect my body fat also peaked around 18%. Now, after applying the OG Diet combined with eclectic strength training, I’m back down to 138 lbs and more muscular looking than I’ve ever been.
It was when my body weight peaked at 148 lbs that I realized through my normal research and personal development process that I needed to wipe the slate clean, and reset some beliefs.
Which brings me back to the aforementioned ‘food in the fridge.’
The vast majority of the fat you carry on your body is simply food in the fridge, ready to be consumed the moment calories are required in a given scenario—a scenario can be days or weeks without food.
Fasting is the default position of human evolution in relation to calorie consumption.
The mistake I made was assuming that if my body was not actively processing a recently consumed meal, that there was no way I could become leaner and stronger, or that good things were not happening in the background.
Beyond the oxidation of excess fat, fasting confers a variety of benefits we can utilize to improve body composition and overall health.
For starters, beyond the 24 hour mark and up to 48 hours, the body is initiating a process called gluconeogenesis whereby the liver is creating glucose by recycling damaged and dead amino-acids.
Then, from 48-72 hours, the body begins to break down stored fat for energy. Through a series of metabolic processes, fat is utilized to;
Produce new glucose molecules via gluconeogenesis
Produce free fatty acids for energy throughout the body, and ketone bodies for energy in the brain.
Beyond 72 hours and up to 5 days, the body begins to pulse larger amounts of growth hormone from the pituitary gland which maintains muscle mass and strengthens bone. It also continues the clean up of junk cellular debris and ramps up the process of autophagy, resulting in the reconstruction of cellular protein.
This was a significant part of the health puzzle that I was missing—autophagy.
The insulin story as it relates to fasting is also worthy of examination. My experience here was once again accidental. After 12 years of consistent work in this field, my hands began to develop symptoms of arthritis. Such symptoms were greatly exacerbated whenever I would eat 2-3 large meals per day in a misguided effort to pack on lean mass.
But the first time I did a 72 hr fast, the symptoms all but disappeared. Subsequent daily 23 hr fasts have almost completely alleviated all noticeable symptoms.
The reason for this is that daily fasting not only lowered my circulating insulin levels, but it also helped reset my insulin sensitivity. High levels of insulin will cause the kidney to retain excess salt and water.
As noted above, I went from a peak of 148 lbs down to approximately 138 lbs in the span of one month.
This of course has meaningful implications for decreasing systemic inflammation as insulin resistance is highly inflammatory thanks to the release of various inflammatory immune cells.
In this regard, fasting likely added several years to my career. The TimTam get’s a shout out here as well.
I think the bottom line is; human beings are not designed to eat a substantial variety of foods. All things being equal, whether we like it or not, for millions of years, we were shot from a cannon into a singular environment, with an extremely limited food supply (by modern standards), and an even more limited food variety.
Think of it this way; you hunt and kill a bison, your supply in this scenario is seemingly endless, (1000 lbs of flesh and ruminants) but your variety is 1. Thus, variety is necessarily far less than supply.
This goes one step deeper.
Though the variety of food you consume will always be less than your supply, the constituents of the bison itself are essentially exactly the same as the constituents of the human body.
As all of the macro and micro-nutrients are basically the same from mammal to mammal, the full spectrum of nutrition required to build & maintain the human body is contained somewhere within that 1000 pound beast.
This is obviously NOT an absolute. It’s not like your variety can’t be 2, or 3, or 10, but the point is that you need not worry that your diet seems boring or lacking in novelty. Eating heart, or liver, or brain, or kidney, or tripe, or tendons, or skin, or blood, is far more nutritionally novel than what you might possibly absorb from attempting to digest Mother Gaia tree bark, or any other plant material.
Consider the generally accepted best practice advice from nutritional experts. By and large, if the professional in question is worth his salt, he will suggest that the patient embark on some form of elimination diet. In other words, ‘spend the next 90 days dramatically decreasing the variety of food you consume.’
Because basically every autoimmune disease has at its root an allergy to some component of ingested food. And, since the advent of fake food swept across society in the 20th century, it has basically become impossible to know what the aitch you’re eating.
Variety is the culprit.
The more you are open to unending variety, the more you make yourself open to those who would happily peddle junk scientism, ie: food designers.
Along with variations of the Paleo/Keto, Carnivore is the only dietary strategy that is Lindy. Reason being, animal flesh is the only food on planet earth that is evolutionarily ubiquitous.
At the end of the day, every diet that has been ‘invented’ by a doctor, scientist, or guru—well intentioned or not—is merely the face tattoo of Iatrogenesis. (harm by the purported healer)
The beauty of this w.o.e. is precisely its simplicity.
It doesn’t matter how much data you have, or how certain you are of your beliefs. It doesn’t matter how many times this or that study has been cited in the literature. It doesn’t matter how well you controlled for confounding variables in your randomized longitudinal double-blind control study. There isn’t a single scientist—or group of scientists—in the entire world, living or dead, smarter than…TIME.
One of the technical reasons carnivory seems to be so effective in the pursuit of lean body mass and fat loss is because, as noted by Dr. Chris Kresser;
So, essentially, as the first part of the OG Diet would have you literally engage in fasting, the implication of the carnivorous portion of this w.o.e. is that once again, as far as your gut is concerned, you’re fasting. This, due to the fact that there is nothing left over to irritate the digestive tract.
Hormesis — What about fiber?
A hormetic stressor is defined as an environmental cue characterized by a low dose beneficial effect, and a high dose toxic effect.
It is possibly an original conjecture of mine that vegetables may encapsulate the entirety of what would have been hormetic within the context of human evolution. (leave a comment and let me know if you’ve heard this elsewhere)
Obligate carnivores have evolved to understand instinctively that over-consumption of plant materials can lead to sickness & death.
Predators evolved cunning, teeth, and speed, in order to escape being eaten. What defense do plants have?
None, really. Except toxins.
Without examining the dangers of pesticide use on plants, or genetic modification, anti-nutrients found in various grains, beans, legumes, nuts, plants, roots, and fruits are as follows.
Lectins: Found in high concentrations in kidney beans, soybeans, wheat, peanuts, tomatoes, and potatoes. Lectins bind cellular membranes, cause inflammation, damage nerve cells, interfere with gene expression, & disrupt endocrine function, Lectins can be mostly neutralized through soaking, cooking, fermenting and sprouting. (1)
Phytates: Found in plant seeds, grains, and legumes. Phytic acid impairs the absorption of iron, calcium and zinc, and promotes mineral deficiencies. (2)
Oxalates: Found in spinach, rhubarb, beets, potato chips, french fries, nuts, bran flakes, miso soup, cocoa powder, okra, raspberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes. Oxalate accumulation leads to inflammation, pain, kidney stones, hematuria, neurological symptoms, vulvodynia, and fibromyalgia pain. (3)
Gluten: Found in wheat, wheat flour, spelt, semolina, barley, rye. Gluten may trigger a dangerous immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine causing leaky gut syndrome. By interfering with the absorption of calcium, iron, and zinc, gluten can also lead to osteoporosis, infertility, nerve damage, and seizures. Leaky gut also inhibits the production of vitamin B12, leading to muscular weakness, shortness of breath, constipation, numbness, difficulty walking, and vision loss. (4)
I want to reiterate that even though many plant materials contain dangerous compounds, it is not necessarily an absolute that they must be avoided. It’s impossible to say exactly how much any given individual should consume.
What I can tell you is that the only vegetable I consume on a regular basis (2-3 x/week) is onion, and in the past three months I’ve only sparsely eaten small amounts of carrot, celery, and garlic in homemade bone broths. I’ll also occasionally consume a naturally fermented sauerkraut, and sweet potato (1-2 x/month). Apart from the occasional pineapple, and apple, as far as plants go, that’s it.
We can also observe the fact that most fruits and nearly every vegetable consumed in the industrialized world is selectively bred/engineered for commercial purposes, ie: it doesn’t exist in nature. This doesn’t automatically disqualify it from consumption, (decide for yourself) but it should give you pause with extreme prejudice.
The basic point that I’m making here is that humans should regard plant material as almost exclusively medicinal. Yet, the medicine cabinet in the modern world has undergone a migratory metamorphosis.
Where we used to store a handful of O.T.C. bottles for aches and pains behind the mirror in the bathroom, we now find swaths of supposed ‘herbal remedies’ above the sink in the kitchen. Antioxidants are in that category as well. (7)
In certain limited cases, plants are medicine, and medicine isn’t food. So I ask, how often should you ingest medicine?
The answer is; rarely, or only when necessary.
Dietary fiber is the final myth I’ll touch on.
Humans are wolves, not cows.
We don’t have four stomachs to process 25 lbs of hay in one day. Apex predators are not meant to take behemoth dumps six times a day.
Just look at the anatomical/physiological similarities between humans and wolves, contrasted diametrically with omnivorous animals.
The habits you’ll develop by following this way of eating will literally prepare you to change the world.
I realize that sounds hyperbolic, but I can make the case rather quickly.
The most dangerous institutions on the planet are central banks. They print debt and pull trillions worth of consumption into the present, precisely where it doesn’t belong. They are thus the largest and most dangerous polluters on the planet, and they also give rise to the most dangerous addiction on the planet.
The most dangerous addiction on the planet is usury/fake wealth/unearned fake wealth.
All addiction is mediated by the human desire to constantly smash dopamine reward pathways in the brain. Most rewards are sought out habitually & completely unconsciously.
O.G. fasting prepares you for the next step, namely, dopamine fasting, a.k.a. the ability to differentiate between happiness and pleasure, and to consciously avoid any kind of ‘reward’ whatsoever.
Break addictions to fake wealth and unconscious rewards = save the world—or at least your own.