Eat The Yolks – Book Review

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This is going to be more of a long story than a book review… but bear with me.  I’ve been burning to write about this for quite some time now, and this seems like the perfect opportunity.

Many of you know that I cam to Paleo from a Vegan diet—one I adhered to, strictly, for the better part of a decade. I avoided meat, animal fat, dairy, and eggs because I had seen positive results after trying it for a month with a friend. Turns out, the severe asthma I had since I was a child had been misdiagnosed, and was actually a dairy allergy. Hence my excitement when I discovered Veganism—I could actually breathe!  This changed my world, as I was able to not only get off my steroid inhaler but actually participate in sports, and quite literally learned how to enjoy things like running or cycling for the first time.

It also was convenient that being Vegan fit in perfectly to what conventional wisdom, as well as my upbringing, told me was healthy. Growing up, my youngest sibling battled cancer as an infant and into early childhood. This sent my mom on a mission to chase any headline pertaining to food and health—which resulted in eating a lot of broccoli, avoiding aspartame and food dyes, and removing household chemicals (thanks mom! Really!). While my sister’s conventional treatment didn’t appear to work, she did achieve a spontaneous remission at a pretty dire point in her battle. She is fully recovered, happy and healthy today (yay!), but growing up with a chronically ill sibling and a mother willing to try anything to make her well again really affected my outlook on food and health.

From that point on, the connection between diet, environment, and health were forever at the forefront of my reality. As a teen, I chose salad over pizza for hot lunch. I didn’t like red meat, so I ate veggie burgers. I was tall, thin, and never suffered from acne, and everyone said “well its because you and your family eat so healthy.

Then I found Veganism, and got sucked in. I started to think I was invincible. Every time I heard “saturated fat causes heart disease” and “animal products cause cancer” I thought to myself “good thing that’s me and I will never have those problems” and gave myself a little mental fist-pump. I had vegan friends, ate at vegan restaurants, and felt really good about myself thinking I was immune to disease. Oh how I was wrong!

Six months after becoming Vegan, I stopped getting my period regularly. When I saw the doctor that summer, my total cholesterol was 110. I asked if this was a problem, and he said no—most of his patients would kill to have a cholesterol level that low. “Keep doing what you are doing!”. I did. Eventually, my period came back semi-regularly, but I could never get through my cycle without using NSAIDs. In fact, even with painkillers, I was incapable of working or going to school for the first couple of days every month. This should have been my first sign that something was off.

Fast forward 5 or 6 years. I would no longer consider myself the glowing picture of health I was as a teen. I wasn’t sleeping well and woke up exhausted every morning and needing a couple of cups of coffee to get me going. I had cystic acne around my jawline and my mouth that was painful and embarrassing. My hair was falling out, my skin had rough patches and I had dark circles under my eyes. I had a heart arrhythmia, numbness and tingling in my extremities, and would get faint or dizzy when I stood up. I suffered from severe anxiety, and had occasional panic attacks. This was two years before my autoimmune diagnosis. I went to the doctor and had some labs run and found out that I was anemic as well as low in D and B12. Supplements only changed about 10% of my symptoms, however and were far from a magic bullet.

I decided that my diet was not clean enough. I tried the master cleanse (10 days of nothing but lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup—sound fun?) and then a raw diet for a summer. I have never felt so tired, bloated, and unhappy as this time in my life. I was also gaining weight while eating 1000 calories a day of carrot sticks, which terrified me. I was consistently feeling bad about myself, thinking that I was doing it all wrong.

When I gave up the raw vegan thing, I settled for regular Vegan again. Except this time, I wasn’t going to be eating all of the tofu and junky processed foods that I was before. I had sprouted grain toast for breakfast, quinoa tabbouli for lunch, and lentil soup for dinner. I became a “whole foods” Vegan, because that had to be the piece I was missing. Sadly, it didn’t work. I’ll spare you the story here, but my perfect low-fat animal-less diet did not spare me from having an epic health crisis, which involved me losing my job, getting diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases, and having to rebuild my life from the bottom up.

When I found Paleo, I was freaking desperate. I would never in a million years thought that I would ever go back to eating meat. Six months barely being able to get out of bed is pretty persuasive. I was willing to try anything at that point, for a chance to be functional again.

I decided to make the plunge, and obviously it worked… otherwise I wouldn’t be here advocating this ancestral nutrition stuff to you all. But even though I was making progress, there was this nagging voice though that I constantly battled… “Am I increasing my risk of cancer by eating meat?”, “Would all of the saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease?”, “Isn’t meat inflammatory?”, and “Doesn’t it rot in my stomach?”, among other things.

Which is where Liz Wolfe’s book, Eat The Yolks comes in (sorry, you knew I would get here eventually!). When I was making this transition, I was having a hard time believing that all of the conventional knowledge I had about food was flat out wrong. I floundered along, on one hand, knowing intuitively that the real food I was choosing to give my body was nourishing and healing, while on the other hand secretly thinking I was putting myself at risk for other chronic illnesses like cancer. I was torn. And I’m fortunate I had a decade of low-fat failure to motivate me towards real food instead of the alternative!

In Eat The Yolks, Liz dismantles every facet of conventional dietary wisdom and how most of what we believe about food is based on lies, junk science, or greed. This is the book I wish I had when I began my journey back to health. It makes me want to buy a copy for everyone I know, just because I want to tell them how they have been lied to.

What I love about this book, is that Liz has given us the hard science to show why we don’t need to live in fear about eating real food, but in a very practical, approachable, and even funny way. She walks us through the story of how conventional recommendations and rules were set in place, and what we find is infuriating. I recommend this book to anyone on a real food journey—even those who are convinced that Paleo is healthy and safe are apt to learn a thing or two (or at least laugh really, really hard, like I did!). I especially recommend this book to anyone who was where I was a couple of years ago—recovering from a low-fat, plant-based diet and living in fear.

This book isn’t specifically about the Autoimmune Protocol—in fact it doesn’t mention it once. What it does do, is defend these nourishing, healing diets against the folly of conventional wisdom. While we can’t literally eat the yolks, we can (and should) be eating real, nutrient-dense foods instead of the garbage that the food industry has fooled us into thinking is food. Instead of coming up with a bunch of complicated recommendations, Liz’s approach is sensible and easy. I’ll leave you with this excerpt from the book:

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 You can pick up a copy of Eat The Yolks on Amazon.com!

 

Comments

  1. maria says

    Dear Mickey,

    Thank you so much for all the effort you have put into your website and into sharing so much of your experience of healing. I also suffer from Hashimoto and possibly the leaky gut and Candida (diagnosed by an integrative doctor). I was also vegan for 3 years, whilst eating what some would consider a very healthy diet, juicing daily, making all food at home and only having natural sugar occasionally. My thyroid antibodies were 260 in 2010 when I had them tested initially. Now they are around 700, which is a clear indication that my vegan diet has not helped at all! I am quite anxious of how much my thyroid gland has been damaged during this time. I am having it scanned in a few weeks.

    Now I am gradually returning to eating animal products by having fish and organ meat so far and by following a Candida diet. I have also been gluten free from December and grain free for about a month. Hopefully will be able to follow your auto-immune paleo protocol iin theh future.

    I have a question in regards to your recovery? How high were your thyroid antibodies throughout your journey? Also, have you managed to reduce them down to non-clinical levels at all? Thanks in anticipation,

    Maria

    • says

      Hi Maria,
      I’m sorry to hear of your struggles with Hashimoto’s. I know first-hand how much of a pain it can be! What I have learned about thyroid antibodies, is that they are not a good benchmark to measure how your treatment is working. When changing their diet (especially going gluten and dairy-free), I have heard that many people see sharp drops in their antibodies, although they don’t go away. After that though, I haven’t heard of the level of antibodies correlating with how a person feels, and that has lined up with my experience. I’ve felt bad with my lowest level of antibodies (50), and I believe that number was so low because my immune system was lacking nutrients and really suffering (after all, it is a nutrient-dependent process to CREATE antibodies!). I have also heard of a couple of people who started testing negative for antibodies, but still had debilitating Hashimoto’s symptoms. Today, I have no symptoms of Hashi’s (and haven’t for over a year), and the last time I had them checked they were 150, which is where they have been since they initially dropped. I don’t check them anymore. Having said all that, I wouldn’t worry about them… just worry about how you FEEL, and use that to measure your progress :)

      Also, about the candida diet, I really don’t recommend it unless you have had a comprehensive stool test and a practitioner’s diagnosis. It is a very strict diet, and I find that a lot of people who think they have candida may have some other pathogen that needs treatment, and in the long run this will hold up their progress.

      Good luck!

      Mickey

  2. maria says

    Dear Mickey,

    Thank you for your prompt reply. It is useful to know that antibodies do not necessarily link to hashimoto’s symptoms. I saw a functional medicine doctor in the UK who diagnosed my candida and also gave me the antifungals I need to take as well as the nutritional advice to follow during the anti-candida treatment.

    Take care,
    mona

    • says

      Maria, I’m happy you found it helpful. I did obsess over them for awhile, until I felt better and they didn’t go away. Just trying to help others find better ways of measuring their progress! Good for you on the candida, and good luck during treatment as it is a hard one to kick.

      Mickey

  3. says

    Dear Mickey,

    I discovered your site when searching for information regarding autoimmune paleo. I have been eating paleo for the past couple of years, after finding out that I have a gluten sensitivity and severe adrenal fatigue. Although I felt better after making this change to paleo from a very low fat, high carb diet with some lean chicken and fish, I have really struggled over the past couple of years, mostly with debilitating fatigue, and could not figure out what exactly was going on. It turns out I have MS. I also have osteoporosis of my spine and I am an ovarian cancer survivor. All of this at the ripe age of 42!

    At any rate, I have recently given up nuts, sugar (was eating some coconut sugar and honey and now only sugar from fruit) and nightshades. My paleo diet to this point consisted of a lot of nuts and I never paid attention to the nightshade thing before now. Since trying autoimmune paleo for the past 7 days, my hypoglycemia and hypotension from adrenal fatigue have definitely been better, and I am hopeful that these positive changes will continue!

    Thank you for your site and the information you cover.

    Best,

    Cheri

    • says

      Cheri,
      So sorry to hear your story, and your experience on a low-fat diet. I’m hoping that you find something of use here, and that you are able to use a nutrient-dense diet to manage your MS. Have you heard of Dr. Terry Wahls? I love her approach, and it integrates very nicely with the autoimmune protocol. She is a big fan of nutrients (as am I), and advocates eating nine cups a day of colorful fruits and vegetables in addition to a Paleo diet.

      I’m sure you know, but with adrenal fatigue, the lifestyle changes are just as important as the food. Making sure you have your sleep, stress reduction, and exercise dialed in is key.

      Wishing you the best of luck!

      Mickey

  4. says

    Hi Mickey,

    Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    I do know of Dr. Wahls and have actually pre-ordered her book that is coming out next week, so I will definitely explore her protocol further.

    The adrenal fatigue has been very tough to manage. I used to be very active, physically, and would race in several triathlons, 10ks and bike rides each year and basically had to stop altogether, because I would feel terrible after a workout and got to a point where I couldn’t keep up or push through. Now, I practice yoga and go for easy walks. I have a hard time not pushing it when I am feeling better, but every time I do, I pay for it.

    My latest endeavor is to follow the autoimmune paleo protocol and to really let my adrenals heal by not trying to push myself when I feel up to it. I am about two weeks in and am feeling better.

    Thanks again,
    Cheri

  5. Lisa says

    Dear Mickey! Thanks for all the nice info! I’m doing AIP for two weeks now, before that I did gaps for one month. Unfortunately my stomach gets very upset by all those veggies, even if I eat them in moderation and cook them. I do take HCl and enzymes. Could I still do AIP and how can I proceed? I do it because of IBS, severe dry eyes, eczema and sleep disturbances. I’d so appreciate your answer! Many thanks! Lisa

    • says

      Hi Lisa, you may need to troubleshoot further to see if you have any sensitivities. Not tolerating veggies is usually a sign that there may be some sort of overgrowth in the gut–best to work with a practitioner and have a comprehensive stool test done. Good luck!

      Mickey

  6. Rozanne says

    Hello Mickey….I have been wondering about flax seed and flaxmeal. I don’t see it on the avoid list but just want to be certain before I open the bag. I was dx with Cranial Dystonia which is debilitating and very painful at times, as well as Hashimto’s and have been struggling for almost nine years but hope to see some changes soon with the AIP program. I’ve tried many eating protocols through the years as well as seeing many different therapists and Doctors. Now I am working with a Functional Medicine Doctor who has amazed me with her knowledge and her compassion. The future looks brighter.
    Thank you for this wonderful plethora of food wisdom, recipes, articles and more.

    Rozanne

    • says

      Rozanne, flax is a seed and not allowed on the autoimmune protocol. I’m wishing you the best of success with your autoimmune, sounds like you have had a great catch with your doctor!

      Mickey

  7. Casandra says

    I have just found out that I have Clostridium difficile toxins A and B. I have been insearch of a root cause for my case of cronic diarreia for the last 25 years. I found you just prior to my testing and will be able to add back some foods at a later date but for now wanted a Paleo diet but without eggs. So I have made several recipes and loved each on. To night I made the Veggie Soup and wanted to ask you how much apple cider vinegar you added to the recipe. It was not listed in the ingredients but was called for in the instructions. I think I have everything ready for a big beginning on Monday. I also wondered about losing weight on this, is it fairly easy and just intails cutting portions? The cookbook is just great and all the recipes look awesome.

    • says

      Casandra,
      You need 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. The AIP is not specifically a weight loss diet, and I would caution you to work on balancing health first before trying to lose weight–the AIP is already pretty restrictive and you don’t want to overdo it. Good luck!

      Mickey

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