Q&A With Matt Stone

I love the picture of these sparkly ladies dancing.  They love their bodies.  And I love them!

Matt Stone wrote one of the most influential books that I have read in my lifetime.  I don’t mean overstate, as if it should also mean that much to you, too.  I simply mean that he speaks the truth.  The book is called Diet Recovery, and it’s not about new food rules or a new diet.  It’s about breaking the rules and focusing on the mechanisms and systems in the body that underlie most of our food obsessions.

Much in the same way that the Health at Every Size movement has really found the vein of truth in their approach to eating, sizism, and exercise, Diet Recovery gets to the heart of the matter.  Love your body the way it is.  Eat food and savor it!  Move around for pleasure!  Not because you “should”, but because you have a body that you appreciate and take care of.

After years of researching, both medical journals and nutrition books, Matt has pieced together the most comprehensive and realistic approach to nutrition that I have found.  You can get a copy of Diet Recovery here, which I have not only read personally, but found great success with.  I’ll be writing about my success so far in a subsequent post.

If you have been reading my blog over the last few months, you’ll know that I have been transitioning from following the GAPS diet to following Diet Recovery.  I did this for a myriad of reasons.  But the two main reasons are this:

I didn’t really need to do GAPS.  At least not for several months or years.  I would have been better off using GAPS as a month-long cleanse and then using the points from Diet Recovery to raise my temperatures in support of my metabolism in the long term.

I didn’t feel good after month 8.  This is because I don’t have autoimmune disease or autism or severe mental illness, which is what GAPS is recommended for.  GAPS is also incredibly individual.  You should listen to your body, and I didn’t.  But I am now!

However, I do recommend GAPS as a 30-day cleanse.  Using the GAPS Intro Diet E-book is the best possible way to do that.  And if you want to continue with GAPS, then you have a month already done.  I also recommend reading my post on how to get enough carbs on GAPS, and how to start the GAPS diet.

So now we get to the nitty gritty.  What does Matt Stone think about specific questions that you asked?  I compiled some great questions, and Matt has happily answered them below.  If you didn’t get your question answered, then please follow up in comments and get the conversation going!

So, Matt.  Want to answer some questions?  Okay then.

What do you think of cod liver oil?  Should we take it?  What about traditional peoples that took it?
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Matt
: Like almost all things ingestible, there are pros and cons.  The pros are the high vitamin D and vitamin A content.  And there are benefits to omega 3 fatty acids.  There are also negatives to omega 3 fatty acids, as they are highly volatile fatty acids that oxidize more quickly in the human body, leading to lipid peroxidation and an accelerated rate of aging.  I wouldn’t say it was a habit of many traditional peoples to take cod liver oil.  The ones that did lived at very high latitudes.  Most people would be better off just eating a little wild-caught salmon from time to time and spending a lot of time in the sun without sunscreen to obtain some of the benefits of cod liver oil.  I certainly don’t take it.
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(Note from Kendahl: Regardless of the pros and cons of cod liver oil, a decision must ultimately be made by you about whether or not to take it.  I do know that the best quality cod liver oil available is on my resource page.  If you are going to take cod liver oil, then this is the one to take.  It’s quality far surpasses any other available in the U.S.)
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I personally buy the fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil blend, plain, and I take it as I feel I need it.  I also offer it to my children who tell me if they need it.  Essentially, we go with our gut, tapping into that deep knowing that can guide us in our health pursuits.)
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After you RRARF and get your temps up and steady, then what do you eat?
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Matt: When your temps are high, you can get away with eating a lot more than you could with a low body temperature.  Your body is also in a more anabolic and less catabolic state, so it uses nutrients, proteins, and other things a lot more efficiently.  In short, it doesn’t matter as much, as long as you are maintaining a high body temperature and setting that as your new normal state.  But generally speaking, someone with a low metabolism needs more calorie-dense food and what I call the S’s: sugar, starch, salt, saturated fat, and sleep to GET warm.  To stay warm, you need far less of those things and can eat more of the quintessential “health” foods, particularly in the evening when body temperature in a normal person peaks.  The “health” foods are thought of as the less calorie dense whole foods, like soups, beans, fruits, vegetables, salads – that type of thing.
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How long does it take to see results with RRARFing?  What changes should we expect?
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Matt
: Most feel an increase in warmth almost immediately, and changes to digestion, skin, hair, fingernails, wound healing, mood, sleep, sex drive, and otherwise within 2-3 weeks (after an often foggy-brained, lethargic, bloated week or two in transition).  The most obvious thing you want to be noticing is an increase in body temperature, overall feeling of warmth, and the warmth of the extremities in particular – the hands and feet.  If you are not noticing these things, something is off.  When in doubt, add in more salt, calorie-dense food that you really love (even if refined), and cut back on fluid intake until your hands and feet become noticeably warmer.
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What about temps that rise after meals, but then fall again?

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Matt
: The higher your metabolic rate, generally the longer you can go without having a crash in body temperature.  It is normal, with a low metabolic rate, to have a bit of a crash 1-2 hours after meals.  This can be gradually overcome.  Stick with it, and make sure to have a dry snack with salt and carbohydrates in particular (crackers or dried fruit with cheese seem to be the most reliably warming),  when body temperature does plummet.  You may be drinking too many fluids as well.  Part of the stress response, when glucocorticoids are released, is to experience a dry mouth.  This isn’t genuine thirst and is typically accompanied by freezing cold footsies and clear, frequent urination.  It’s better to eat, than drink, in this state.  And it only takes a small snack to lift yourself out of this dip – like 2-3 bites of something.
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What should I do if I’m cutting back on the water, but I am really really thirsty?  What can I tweak?

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Matt
: It takes a while to break oneself of constant overdrinking.  One thing that may help in transition is to have a very sweet and salty drink – something like a sports drink with extra salt, or a little whole milk, in place of water.  I often recommend 50% grape juice and 50% water with enough salt added to detect a mild salty background flavor.  At the very least one should avoid large quantities of fluids all at one time when already ice cold and urinating frequently – having just a couple sips at a time when thirst becomes very strong.
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What do you think about “self-control”?  Is it healthy?

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Matt
: Depends on what degree of self-control we’re talking about, the person who is using it, for what purpose they are using it for, and the militance of the self-control.  I use some self-control when it comes to television viewing for instance, as turning on the tv often leads to me watching a lot of tv that I really don’t care about, and missing out on other things that make my life better, fuller, and healthier.  But I don’t beat myself up over it or treat myself like a new Army recruit about the tv remote.  I just know better, and make the choice that I know will serve me better than simply following my impulse to turn on the tv out of boredom.
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Thoughts on The Fiber Menace?

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Matt
: Too many thoughts to cover them all.  There is a great deal of evidence that fiber is highly protective against degenerative disease – most notably that native tribes all over Africa were found to have a host of illnesses when their diet contained no fiber, and complete freedom from things like diabetes, tooth decay, varicose veins, constipation, and dozens of other conditions when eating their traditional very high-fiber diet.  Fiber also ferments into short-chain fatty acids that have a long list of metabolic benefits, most noticeable being an increase in mitochondrial activity (metabolic rate), insulin sensitivity, and reduced blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and various inflammatory markers.  So theoretically fiber should be great.  However, there are many individual cases that respond to low fiber intakes.  So both a high and low fiber intake can be powerful dietary interventions.  Neither is “good” or “bad” and it’s important to experiment with a totally open mind about either avenue.
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What if you are RRARFing while going through menopause?  Will the temps eventually come up?

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Matt
: Peri and post-menopausal women usually respond very well to RRARF, and need the metabolic boost much more than a younger person with more anabolic hormonal potential.  Not everyone can raise body temperature through diet and lifestyle intervention alone.  I would say, if I had to guess, that about 90% of people are able to obtain a normal or above-normal body temperature through dietary and lifestyle interventions – through loosely following the ideas of the RRARF concept or working with me personally.
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What’s the deal with lectins and inflammation?

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Matt
: There are lots of things that can cause inflammation.  The list is endless.  I prefer to battle inflammation on the metabolic front, as a low body temperature is known to increase the intensity of the inflammatory response  – perhaps why allergies, food sensitivities, autoimmune disease, and other inflammatory conditions often worsen long-term on various diets of all kinds.
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What if I have real allergies, such as to milk and eggs and gluten?  How should I RRARF?

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Matt
: I would try it without at the very start, but quickly attempt to reintroduce as many things as possible over the course of your metabolic enhancement.  Health, and overall life, is usually best with the absolute minimum number of dietary restrictions.  The difficulty, social anxiety, and social isolation caused by dietary restrictions is grossly underestimated by the health fanatics that dish out health and nutrition advice.  I treat dietary restriction as a last resort, not a first line of defense. And as metabolism improves, the inflammatory response often regulates itself in such a way that former triggers of allergic and inflammatory reactions no longer elicit such a reaction.
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What are your thoughts on thyodine?

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Matt:
Such supplementation can be useful, but I personally can’t stand dependency on drugs or supplements.  Overcoming such dependency and reliance was one of the biggest inspirations for becoming a professional health writer and researcher.  If I could get one message to the general public in my lifetime, it would be to address health problems with the right sequence of action… 1) Take personal dietary and lifestyle action to get the systems of the body working optimally – high metabolism, good digestion, quality sleep, etc.  2) If that doesn’t work, seek alternatives.  I have no problem with people taking thyroid glandulars, medications, and otherwise – as long as this is not the first thing they reach for.  In other words, try to fix your own problems first before you rush to the doctor.  Your body is your best doctor, generally-speaking.
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What is a “weight set point”?

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Matt:
The body wants to be at a given weight, or even body fat percentage, at any given moment.  Struggle against your natural cues and you can keep your body fat levels slightly below it - often to the detriment of your physical function and happiness.  The only way to lose weight without triggering adverse consequences is to lower the weight set point, which triggers a spontaneous loss of body fat.  The future of weight loss research will revolve around ways to achieve an automatic lowering of weight set point.  Currently, very little is understood or known about how to manipulate the weight set point.  But it does exist, and can bring about great health detriments to those who disagree with their weight set points!

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.
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Comments

  1. “I have no problem with people taking thyroid glandulars, medications, and otherwise – as long as this is not the first thing they reach for. In other words, try to fix your own problems first before you rush to the doctor. Your body is your best doctor, generally-speaking.”

    I love this. I also think there is wisdom in knowing your limitations and seeking out advise from those who know better (whether that be someone like Matt or a homeopath, etc.) Ideally it should be someone who understands this fundamental truth that the body really can heal itself if given the proper tools.

  2. “I have no problem with people taking thyroid glandulars, medications, and otherwise – as long as this is not the first thing they reach for. In other words, try to fix your own problems first before you rush to the doctor. Your body is your best doctor, generally-speaking.”

    I love this. I also think there is wisdom in knowing your limitations and seeking out advise from those who know better (whether that be someone like Matt or a homeopath, etc.) Ideally it should be someone who understands this fundamental truth that the body really can heal itself if given the proper tools.

  3. Thanks for answering these questions! It all sounds so simple…yet it can be so difficult when your body has so much damage to undo. I have been eating healthy, real food for a long time now…but still have daily struggles. I’ve learned to listen to my body and know what I tolerate best. But I’ve also learned I’m very deficient in a lot of vitamins and minerals as a result of so many restrictions over the years. I’m at a point where I do need some supplements to get my body back on track. I can’t make it up with food at the moment. But I see supplements as a temporary help until my body can do it on its own.

  4. Thanks for answering these questions! It all sounds so simple…yet it can be so difficult when your body has so much damage to undo. I have been eating healthy, real food for a long time now…but still have daily struggles. I’ve learned to listen to my body and know what I tolerate best. But I’ve also learned I’m very deficient in a lot of vitamins and minerals as a result of so many restrictions over the years. I’m at a point where I do need some supplements to get my body back on track. I can’t make it up with food at the moment. But I see supplements as a temporary help until my body can do it on its own.

  5. I appreciate the info, but I still find it disappointing that almost all of these health researchers/practitioners don’t seem to address people who are underweight. Or if they do, they just say it will help people at whatever weight they are. Is that true? are they speaking because they have actually seen many people in that category find success?

  6. I appreciate the info, but I still find it disappointing that almost all of these health researchers/practitioners don’t seem to address people who are underweight. Or if they do, they just say it will help people at whatever weight they are. Is that true? are they speaking because they have actually seen many people in that category find success?

  7. Great interview! Thanks for sharing, Kendahl!

  8. Great interview! Thanks for sharing, Kendahl!

  9. Matt Stone’s awesome! Thanks for the great Q&A.

  10. Matt Stone’s awesome! Thanks for the great Q&A.

  11. Argh, I shoulda asked about how to get good sources of Vitamin A and about how effective the conversion of beta carotene to vitamin A is. I like Liver, but it’s unrealistic for me to eat it every day, and probably not great with the huge amounts of iron.

  12. Argh, I shoulda asked about how to get good sources of Vitamin A and about how effective the conversion of beta carotene to vitamin A is. I like Liver, but it’s unrealistic for me to eat it every day, and probably not great with the huge amounts of iron.

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