Results of a Physical Exam by a Physician
8 Months After I Started a RVAF Diet

The text below, largely unaltered since its original composition, is excerpted from an e-mail which I sent to the Live foods list in late December 2000, reporting upon the results of a physical exam which I had undergone with my physician two days earlier, roughly 8 months after switching to a 97%+ RVAF diet from my diet of the previous 12 years, which had essentially been a relatively low-fat Dean Ornish-type diet, which did include some grain and bean products, as well as soy, but which included absolutely no dairy, no junk oils or junk fats, no processed oils other than EV (extra-virgin) olive oil, plenty of raw fruits and lots of raw carrots.

(letter begins, with minor editing for clarity and to offer more detail)
Time to gloat for a few minutes (as if I have never done that before!) about some of my personal benefits with this raw/raw animal food diet known variously as the Raw Paleolithic Diet (RPD), or Raw Vegetation and Animal Foods Diet (RVAF).

As many of you know, I now get far fewer colds and flus than I did before starting this diet, and a few minor chronic physical ills, including prostatitis, CFS and fibromyalgia, which I had experienced before starting the diet have almost entirely disappeared. The biggest thing, however, for me, has been simply that I have far more energy and far less fatigue, and feel far stronger and more robust, and need less sleep as well! (Background: I had moderate chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) for the past 13 years.) Here now, the results of my latest physical examination from a Western physician who also has impeccable credentials in Eastern medicine as well! (I have cc'ed him on this e-mail as well!)

As I have stated on this list about two weeks ago, another benefit of this diet is that I have gained 27 pounds since starting it 8 months ago (and I am what is known as a "hard gainer"), and feel as well as look far healthier. Perhaps the funniest and strangest thing about this 27-pound weight gain is that it has been mostly a mass gain, rather than a size gain. My waist has gained only perhaps 1/2 inch of girth, but my arms and legs (and chest) have gained a lot of muscle weight (no, I have not been working out!). I have appended some details on this phenomenon at the end of this letter (below!)

(An update note at 12 months post-starting the diet: As of a point 12 months into the diet (April 2001), I have now gained 33 pounds since starting the diet. My waist size has increased a bit over an inch, from waist size 31+ to size 32+. While I have gained a small amount of fat on my waist (I love it!), most of the weight gain has been very well-distributed as a gain in upper-body mass, and that is largely muscle weight gain in chest, arms and shoulders.)

I have mentioned before that at a point (late August of this year) where I had been on the RAF diet for about 4 months, I went to my Western physician (an osteopath (DO) who is also highly trained in acupuncture, Eastern methods of diagnosis, Chinese manipulation therapy, and Chinese herbal medicine) for my yearly physical. As I have recounted before here, he was rather amazed at my condition, having had me as his patient for about 3 years. Not only had I gained about 10 pounds of weight over my weight at previous physicals, but he said I simply looked much more solid, sturdy, robust and healthy, and that my pulses (Chinese pulse diagnosis) confirmed all that. Further, he said, my color was much darker and ruddier, indicating better health and circulation. His visual examination of the arteries in my eyes (sensitive indicators of blood viscosity (liquidity/thinness) as well as of any tendency to atherosclerotic buildup of plaque or calculus) also showed that I continued to have almost perfectly clean arteries, much like those of a 6-year old, and he has stated that he has never seen this before in anyone in a Western country. Further, he had also found that my blood continued to be very clean and highly fluid (low viscosity), with no evidence of the clumping or sluggishness often seen in the blood of Westerners. These latter two things are extremely significant: it is extremely unusual for a person in a Western culture to have arteries which are totally clear of plaque and deposits and blood which is clear, clean and shows low viscosity.

Well, let's fast-forward to yesterday. Being ever the curious little bunny, I decided recently to have another physical at the end of December, which would mark a point 8 months into full-fledged involvement with a RVAF diet. And so, yesterday afternoon I spent an hour and a half again with my physician (mentioned above) in Baltimore. At the time of this latest physical, I now weighed about 27 pounds more than when I started this diet in May (and 27 pounds more than I weighed at my physical in August 1999), and my doctor was very amazed when he saw me this time. He said I looked even far more solid, sturdy, healthy, robust and "fuller" than when he had seen me just 4 months ago. He said that when he had seen me for physicals in past years, he had always been concerned about my health and well-being, because, despite very clean blood tests and clean arteries, I was often fatigued (mild CFS), often felt weak and under-energized, and was always battling colds and flus, and my spirit and soul did not seem very well planted in my body, but rather to be floating somewhere above my head, due (in his opinion) to poor body energetics and nutrition. In his words (more of an Eastern view) I had never looked "well-planted" in my body in the past; I looked "weak" and "frail", because "my body had a hard time holding onto spirit and soul due to malnourishment".

He noticed that although I had gained only about 1/2 inch of girth on my waist with the 27-pound weight gain, I had gained considerable bulk (not fat) on my arms, legs and chest and looked "fuller" and far healthier. As with the physical four months ago, his subsequent pulse diagnosis confirmed his sense of far greater stamina, health sturdiness and robustness. His visual examination of the arteries in my eyes also showed that I continue to have perfectly clean arteries, much like those of a 4-year old, and he has stated that he has never seen this before in anyone in a Western country. Further, he also found that my blood continued to be very clean and highly fluid (low viscosity), with no evidence of the clumping or sluggishness often seen in the blood of Westerners. He remarked, while looking at my eye arteries, that he was rather astounded at the lack of deposits, plaque and clumping, given the high percentage of animal products (albeit raw) in my diet. Finally, he drew back and remarked (for he is a very learned and thoughtful person) that the theories that arterial deposit buildup (plaque, calculus) must be due to inflammation in response to toxins in (cooked and processed) foods, rather than to (raw) animal products per se, must be true. Based upon my previous lab test results and upon the current findings, he refused to send my blood for a standard cardiovascular clinical lab panel (triglycerides, cholesterol, HDL/LDL ratio, blood sugar) because he was sure that all scores would be literally off the healthy end of the scale; previous such tests have shown very low triglycerides, low cholesterol, very good HDL/LDL ratio, and very low blood sugar, basically the results one normally sees for a 9-year old in western society rather than a 49-year old. My physician felt that all these changes, in total, were nothing less than incredible, and stated that he had never seen someone change their health so radically within their lifetime, much less within 8 months.

As I have stated before: These latter two findings (blood, arteries) are extremely significant: it is extremely unusual for a person in a Western culture to have arteries which are totally clear of plaque and deposits and blood which is clear, clean and shows low viscosity. It is almost unheard of for a male my age in Western society to have the triglyceride, blood sugar and cholesterol results which I have.

For some background to these blood and arterial deposit (or lack of such) results, let me iterate that since May 2000, and through late December 2000, I have been eating the following raw animal products daily, in addition to raw vegetables, veggie juices, and fruit (along with an occasional raw rabid bat!):

  • 6 to 24 raw organic eggs
  • 10 to 12 ounces of beef (was 4 ounces till November 2000)
  • 10 to 16 ounces of turkey or chicken (was 4 ounces till November 2000)
  • 1 to 3 heaping tablespoons of raw butter (none till August 2000)
  • 2 to 30 ounces of raw cheese (usually cow's milk, often salted)
  • small amounts (rarely) of raw cream and milk
  • 4 to 15 ounces of organic liver, average 2 days/week
  • 3 to 8 tablespoons of raw unheated honey (starting to back off on this as of late 2000...)
  • 1 to 2 pieces of raw fruit per day
  • 8 to 10 ounces of raw fish 2 to 3 times per week
  • 4 to 5 glasses daily of fresh raw green vegetable juice (celery, parsley, cucumber, carrot, beet)
  • 1 to 3 glasses daily of tomato blend "juice" (blended, not juiced; tomato, lemon, and sometimes avocado and a bit of olive oil) 
  • diet has included small amounts of raw apple cider vinegar, EV olive oil (tapering off on the apple cider vinegar as of late 2000)

I am sure that the famous Dr. Atkins (of Atkins diet fame) would go wild over these clinical results since this is pretty much in line with what he has been claiming about a diet which includes animal products, but which excludes processed carbs and grains, beans, legumes, and pulses. (Indeed, I read recently that Atkins has publicly stated, in a print article,  that a raw version of his primal Atkins diet would be even more healthy than his (largely cooked) version. Amazing for someone rather mainstream!)

For those purists among us, I do wish to point out that I while the diet has been (from early 2000 to December 2000) an over-97% raw RVAF diet, I have not necessarily adhered to some of the Primal Diet (RAF diet) rules which Aajonus Vonderplanitz (founder of the Primal Diet) recommends for some folks. Since the Primal Diet is likely the best-known of the various RVAF diets, particularly on the West Coast (USA), and has a lot of adherents, again, especially on the West Coast, here is a list of how my diet over the past 8 months has differed from the Primal Diet. Here is a list of any possible deviations!  To wit, I currently (as of late December 2000) consume:

  • far more water than Aajonus recommends for many folks (I drink about 0.6 gallons/day or more)
  • somewhat more fruit than Aajonus might recommend for some folks (I eat 1-3 pieces/day, sometimes more, especially watermelon)
  • some nutritional supplements, particularly:
    • the supplement currently marketed as MegaH (aka MegaH-) (contains a "primal" antioxidant called the H- ion)
    • alkaline ionized water, better called Electrolized Reduced Water (ERW)  (contains a "primal" antioxidant called the H- ion)
    • some antioxidants (vitamins C & E, alpha lipoic acid (ALA))
    • some minerals (Ca, Mg, selenium, vanadium, chromium, trace minerals, volcanic and seabed deposit clays for trace minerals)
  • quite a bit less dairy than Aajonus might recommend for some folks (although in line with Aajonus' recommendations for me when I visited him for a consultation in November 2000)
  • small to moderate amounts of salt (I feel that this, like the water, is important)
  • small amounts of dried spices, especially red pepper, cayenne, etc.
  • lastly, but perhaps most importantly, I only increased the amounts of meat products (meat, fish) since August 2000 as an experiment, and prior to that, my daily meat/fish consumption was perhaps 4 to 8 ounces of raw meat per day, or even less. (Editorial note as of early 2003: within 6 months of writing that 12/2000 report, I started scaling back my raw meat/fish consumption even further, based upon feedback from my body and intuition.) Hence, looking at the whole 8 months (in 2000) covered in the report above, my raw meat/fish consumption has been, on average, well below what Aajonus would recommend for most folks.
  • I have tended to use less raw honey than Aajonus recommends for most folks, and that is decreasing even further (as of late 2000). (Editorial note as of early 2003: within 8 months of writing that 12/2000 report, I scaled back my consumption of raw honey to almost zero, based upon feedback from my body and intuition.)
In closing, my physician expressed amazement at the improvements in health that we have both witnessed in me in the 8 months on this RAF diet, asked me about 2,000 further questions about the diet, and told me that I am now far ("incredibly") healthier and more robust than at any time he has ever seen me, and that this is confirmed by both Western and Eastern methods of diagnosis (he used the word "incredible" several times.)  He also stated that my energies (in the Eastern view, via pulse, tongue, and facial examination) are now stable enough to allow acupuncture, whereas for the past 3.5 years, he has felt that my energies had been too wispy, weak and unstable to allow successful acupuncture (indeed, my other acupuncturists and I had found the same thing, which we had often learned by bitter experience!)

My physician has since asked for a bunch of websites and other references about this diet, and, as I have mentioned before, he is already in the process of switching to a largely Paleolithic diet (but partially cooked) himself, free of cooked dairy, junk fats, grains, beans, pulses and legumes, based partially upon the results he has seen in me with the RAF diet, as well as upon his own research. Yesterday, as he asked me questions about the practical aspects of the RAF diet, I could see the wheels turning in his mind, as he apparently considered this diet (raw Paleo) for himself. He is now considering this RAF diet for some of his more intractable patients, or should I say patients with apparently intractable problems!

Lastly, as is rather obvious from the above, my physician is very wholistic in orientation, and is not immersed in the drug/surgery paradigm. 

Next, a post to the same list from early January 2001:
A brief and interesting update to my recent posts on body density changes and the results of my 8-month physical exam. My ex-wife, who lives 500 miles distant, has become an 80% RAFer (she loves those chicken hearts!) over the past 6 months just from chatting with me on the fone. She had recently asked me for some fotos of my "latest" self, and, the other night on the fone, she stated that although my face had not gained any weight, it looked more solid, and that while I had not gained any kind of belly or gut, I had obviously gained bulk in my arms, legs and chest. She said that my arms "filled my sleeves better" and that my legs "filled my pants better".

However, the funniest feedback was received late yesterday while hiking in the mountains behind my house with a close female friend. For background, I have always been rather skinny and never had much of a butt (some licentious and "progressive" folks, such as those people who live in Los Angeles and/or Manhattan, call this area "buns"), even when I did 8 to 10 hours of resistance workouts per week. Well, late yesterday afternoon, I was hiking on the trail behind my house, my handsome hound Toby in front of me, and my beautiful athletic (girl-jock scientist) female friend (also a recent RAFer, and also a member of this e-mail list) walking behind me. With an abrupt exclamation of delight, she commented brightly at some point early in our journey (minutes later cut short by a burst of gunfire from a poacher) that she was suddenly becoming very aware that I had recently grown a very nice and well-shaped "set of buns" (social conservative that I am, I immediately insisted on walking behind her, clutching my Bible tightly in hand!)
Indeed, my ex-wife has now demanded that I send to her some additional digital photos which include side shots and shots of my "buns"!

Lastly, as I have likely mentioned on this list before, I had a sushi lunch in Baltimore (followed by a sail on the harbor) almost two months ago (October 2000) with my ex-boss (from the corporate world) and his wife; this was our first time together in a year. My ex-boss, Jim, like myself, has been a certified personal trainer for many years; he also spent many years before that as a coach. At lunch, Jim looked across at me and remarked that I looked great: that I had gained quite a bit of muscle bulk (particularly forearms and chest) since he had last seen me, indeed, he said, I now had far more bulk then even in those days when I worked out assiduously (we had often trained together while on business trips, at a YMCA in Tacoma, or a Gold's Gym in Chicago's downtown), and he asked how much time I was spending on weight training. I sheepishly confessed that I had stopped all my resistance workouts over 12 months ago. He raised his eyebrows and asked me how I had then managed to gain so much bulk. I next confessed about my diet, and spent the rest of the day, as we sailed the harbor in a small boat, answering questions about my diet.

So, the benefits of this diet appear to be cosmetic as well as deep inner changes in health, vitality and well-being. And, as I have noted in the past few months, I have had the strong and definite experience that women (to their eventual detriment, since I am a callow cad) find me more attractive. I notice also that some slightly dark and puffy rings or circles which I had under my eyes are slowly disappearing, making my face appear younger and more wholesome. Indeed, several of my friends who have gotten interested in this diet have done so because of the physical changes they have seen in me: namely: appearance, energy, health and stamina. This is by far the most contagious eating plan I have ever seen; almost all of my friends, including laypersons and scientists, have now embraced this diet wholeheartedly!

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