A Diet Considering The Link Between Aging, Nutrition, and Hormones
by Kiki Athanas
June 17, 2019
In the midst of the low-carb keto-craze vs. fruit-loving medical medium controversies, I’ve recently come across a set of dietary guidelines that seems to REALLY go against the grain. And let’s just say - I’m picking up A LOT of what it’s putting down.
Dr. Ray Peat has a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Oregon, with specialization in physiology. He first started his work with progesterone and related hormones in 1968 - with the key idea being that energy and structure are interdependent, at every level.
I was only recently introduced to Dr. Ray Peat’s teachings after listening to a fantastic podcast (here) recommended by a good friend and holistic nutritionist specializing in gut health, Bryan Hardy.
Here are some of the surprising take-aways I got from the episode:
- Probiotics (& “probiotic” or otherwise fermented food) should be avoided.
- Similarly, antibiotics and gut sterility generally, may not be the devil after all...
- Caffeine (with sugar) lowers serotonin and increases dopamine, and is similar to thyroid hormones (i.e. beneficial). On a related note, caffeine tolerance can be used as a metric for liver health (with increased tolerance being a sign of healthy liver function).
- A carrot salad daily + vitamin K2 keeps the (gut) doctor away.
Yup, fairly controversial stuff - at least if you’re in the world of holistic nutrition and functional and alternative medicine, which definitely don’t sing antibiotic’s praises and are generally a huge fan of “gut-friendly” probiotics. With that said, I’m not one to knock it till I try it - or, at least, try to understand it a little more in-depth. Furthermore, there are many key guidelines from Dr. Ray Peat’s dietary advice that I particularly resonate with, and has proven to work for me when I had implemented these foods/guidelines (either in the past or currently), mainly being:
- Fat-free (or low-fat) dairy being a good source of healthy protein (raw if possible).
- On a related note, a lower-fat diet is best especially for liver health.
- Ripe fruit, and especially tropical fruit (in whole form as well as in juices) is a great source of carbohydrates - which should most definitely NOT be limited! (Goodbye keto, hello Medical Medium).
- Starches should be avoided, and if enjoyed - cooked very well.
- Caffeine (with sugar - i.e. from milk, for example) is a great way to promote digestive health and detoxification - as well as boost your metabolism.
Note that the above points are simply some of the key findings shared from Dr. Ray Peat’s work, and those that I have PERSONALLY found beneficial when I have practiced them (although unknowingly and unconsciously following his “protocol”). You may also resonate with a low-carb diet NOT working for you - physically or mentally, and enjoying protein from dare I say it...dairy! I for one am not about strict dieting or living by intense food “rules” - but at the same time love exploring and experimenting with various protocols that have shown to have successful outcomes (especially as it relates to anti-aging and optimizing hormonal health). Hence, I’ve decided to continue exploring Dr. Ray Peat’s suggestions and implementing some of the tid-bits that I feel called to work with and that feel innately right to me. A “healthy” balance of science & intuition I suppose.
Here are the elements I’ll be incorporating, starting today:
- Daily raw carrot (if possible as a salad with coconut oil)
- Balance protein with sugar (fruit being the best): about 1:1 fruit to meat, and about 2:1 fruit to cheese.
- Incorporate dairy back into my diet: cottage cheese and other cheese made without enzymes (just animal rennet), & enjoying milk in coffee.
- Lots of gelatin! I’ve stocked up on a high-quality organic grass-fed source and will be stirring it into my hot drinks daily (maybe even my coffee!).
- Re-introducing a K2 supplement (I used to do this, but dropped the ball on it months back.)
- Coffee! Did I mention coffee? I’m going to drink coffee again. It’s great.
- Avoid PUFAs and soy (PUFAs are in processed foods, nuts and seeds and their butters, vegetable oils, margarine). This one won’t be much of a stretch for me - other than the avoidance of nuts and seeds.
Will keep you in the loop with my journey and findings, as usual.
I’ve also gotten in touch with Georgi Dinkov, who is an avid expert and educator in the Ray Peat fundamentals, and will be circling back with his further insights on some of the above protocol, as well as my outstanding questions. I will be speaking with him next week, so if you’re reading this and have questions/comments/concerns, I encourage you to do so soon (email me or comment below) - and I can bring it up in our future interview and get our questions answered!
Stay tuned, and stay well.