Discussion of NHE on Evolutionary Fitness discussion list

Date:  Fri, 7 Feb 2003 12:58:41 -0500
From:         Matt Metzgar <author@STONEAGEPOWER.COM>
Subject:      NHE carb-loading

> A question: In Faigan's NHE, carb-loading takes place
> every 3 or 4 days.  I am interested in trying this, but I
> would like a better theoretical base.  Would this type
> of situation have happened in the Paleo world?  In other words,
> would HGs have somehow naturally carb-loaded every few days?

Rob Faigin's whole idea is pretty much lacking a theoretical basis.  It has been arrived at through a process of induction (gathering information and THEN building a theory) rather than a process of deduction (having a theory  - like Evolutionary Fitness - and  deducing from it).

However, there are some signs that it is based on two theories: Chapter 5 of the NHE book is about the importance of human evolution for understanding our present.  My own take on this is that Rob Faigin spent a few years trying to explain to his satisfaction his own mix of success and failures and then hit on the idea that hormone levels seemed to be a common thread in in is literature searches and swung his focus in that direction.

I have been using NHE for 18 months, the first 6m as a vegetarian (Paleo eating in all other respects) and then as a thoroughly Paleo omnivore for the past 13m.  It certainly works for me.

What do I mean by 'works'?  Well, it complements my exercises by delivering muscle growth quickly.  I didn't need to lose fat, but I'm below 10% body fat and I find this a comfortable place to be, especially as NHE with organic / Paleo foods has  eliminated - yes, eliminated hunger cravings, so sticking to the diet is dead easy.  It is probably the relief at being freed from hunger cravings that I see as the biggest advantage of NHE and is enough to keep me from being too adventurous in my diet.

The carb-load days satisfy my intellectually-driven desire to recreate the irregularity of Paleo food intake and also to eat the fruit and vegetables in season which would be an inevitable feature of Paleo eating.  I have branched out to eat durian, jackfruit, dragon fruit (no bananas) and other exotic tropical fruit that I would never have tried without a Paleo / NHE basis to my food intake.

>I am interested in trying this because
>I feel it's difficult to get enough
>carbohydrates by eating Paleo.  I tend
>to lose energy without sufficient
>carbohydrate in my diet.

Never had this.  But reading the experiences of others and what Rob Faigin says, it seems that the low energy levels are a feature of the transition from being a carb burner to being a fat burner.  Give it two or three weeks and measure your carb intake on low carb days (and low carb meals on carb load days) to see that you have them as low as you think you have; I found that a single large apple threw me way off track!  If you send me your food intake for a few days (at the level of ingredients, not 'dishes' or 'meals') I'd be happy to give you a protein: fat : carb ratio estimate based on USDA data.

Low energy levels may also occur in people who approach the diet with a pre-NHE attitude to fat. It took me a while to actually put into practice the notion of using fat as my primary energy source.

A few days of my NHE eating can be found on my website at http://www.evfit.com/intake.htm

Art DeVany would scorn the regularity and lack of spontaneity of my food intake, so I may one day experiment.  In the meantime, I'm delighted with it.  It will be an intellectual argument, not 'falling off the wagon' that leads to any change I make.

One final point, keep in mind the NHE message that diet and exercise are integrally linked. If you do one without the other, you are not doing either.  Hey! that's Evolutionary Fitness, too!


From: "Robert Wolf" <robbwolf@HOTMAIL.COM>
Sent: Saturday, February 08, 2003 3:57 PM

> Keith-Thank you for your on going discussion of NHE.  It has been very
> effective for me as well.  I am curious what the list's experience has been
> with regards to post work out nutrition specifically ingesting carbs post
> workout. Art and Rob Faigin argue against it but John Berardi (and
> seemingly everyone else around!) argue for protein/carbs post work out. I
> have noticed when I did this I simply did not feel good.  A post work out
> meal of protein and fat predominantly left me feeling great...not so the
> protein carb meal. I have increased my carb loads to every 2 and every 3
> days. 


From: "Keith Thomas" <iant@WEBONE.COM.AU>
Sent: Saturday, February 08, 2003 7:40 PM
Subject: NHE carb-loading

My apologies for the sloppy English in my previous post.  I was off to a 7:00am start for rowing training, so I threw my response together a bit too hastily.

This brings me to the point of this second post: maintaining energy levels on a low-carb diet.  I mentioned that I had no problems in this respect. Let me give you now a couple of examples.

In 2001, about 3 months into NHE, I competed in my fifth 'Panton Marathon' rowing race over 8.5km.  This is a strenuous event taking our crew about 30 minutes (What is the standard of our crew? We came fifth in the final of the World Championships in 2002 - out of about 30 crews from around the world in our 55-60 age category and we were by far the lightest crew in the final; many of the other crews in the final contained ex-Olympic oarsmen who were all comfortably over 6 feet tall - we average about 5 feet 10 inches in height).

The 2001 Panton Marathon was rowed on a Sunday morning and Sunday is the day, following Rob Faigin's suggestion, that ends for me with a carb-load meal after 4 days of low carbs.  I was very nervous - but, no problem!  I was amazed and delighted to discover that my endurance and my ability to maintain the pressure and even sprint at the end were undiminished.

The second example is from this week. On Thursday I got up at 4:00am (and listened to the direct broadcast of Colin Powell from the UN), had some steak, cycled 8km to rowing training, rowed 10km and then cycled another 20km to work.  It was the first time I'd cycled for three months as I had previously judged the distance just too far to commute by bike.  Throughout Thursday, I noticed no difference in my energy levels from a normal day. I cycled back home a further 27km.  Sure, I was tired at the end, but I stayed up till 10:30 when I felt sleepy enough to head to bed.  Next day I started at the gym at 7:10am and did a body core workout and felt just fantastic. The fantastic feeling was not backed up by a better than average performance, but neither was it any weaker than usual. I drove to work, as I haven't got the time to cycle commute more than once a week.

This morning (Saturday), I felt a bit tired after today's rowing training, but that's about what I'd expect and I had no qualms about cycling to the gym with my wife and son for a 2:00pm workout (squats and bear running followed by a stretch).

So, based on my own experience, I don't think you need to worry about diminished energy levels.  Give it a try, give yourself time to allow the body to switch to fat-burning mode - and post your results here, Matt!

Robb asked about post-workout nutrition.  Back in the carb days, I used to worry about this - a worry driven largely, I now understand, by the carb- induced food cravings.  Now that I have eliminated cravings, I have to remind myself to eat.  What I normally do is governed by (1) personal convenience (2) broad paleo principles and (3) NHE principles - not fine tuning based on the complexities of human physiology.  What does this mean in practice?  As I go to the gym or row most mornings, I get up (4:30am rowing days; 5:30am gym days), drink 600ml water, brew fresh coffee, lightly fry 200-300g red meat in suet, eat a third of it and chop the remainder into about 1.5cm cubes which I nibble in the car over the 30-minute drive to work.  I also drink a further 700ml or so of water by the time I reach work.  That's my pre- and post- workout nutrition; the results are fine.  How do I define 'fine'?  I'm not hungry before lunch, I adapt quickly and effectively to new exercises and I build up strength and reps to my satisfaction and my body fat is quite low - I'd guess 10-12%.  My guess is that if I went back to carbs after workout, I'd be experiencing hunger cravings (not real hunger) during the morning.

I could go on, but hand it over to you now to ask any questions so I can give any further postings the focus that you'll find most helpful.

Examples of my food intake are at http://www.evfit.com/intake.htm and over the next couple of hours I'll add my intake on the six days 13-18 January.


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