This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

What is the secret to health?

Is it food? I'm starting to have my doubts.

Not being restrictive? Learning to say fuck it? Is that the answer?

I've tried everything, and I still look and feel like shit.

I'm starting to lose all hope in diets.

There's literally nothing else I can think of to try. You name it I've tried it.

asked Feb 22, 2015 by registeringtopost

I'm not sure. I'd like to think that the secret is just good thyroid health from the right diet and supplements, but maybe it's just positivity and living a stimulating and fulfilling life. One thing I have learned is that change is extremely gradual. Have you tried desiccated thyroid? Broda Barnes used thyroid supplements to improve people's health and he didn't even change their diet. So if you can apply the right diet and the thyroid that should be two strong weapons.

Marketing and society has us caught up in this idea of instant gratification. Buy this product and your life will instantly improve. Unfortunately, there is no supplement that will improve your health significantly overnight. You may try something new and notice complete relief from your symptoms, only to find yourself back at square one after a short period. These highs and lows can drive you nuts, so I think it's important to be indifferent to everything that happens to you. If something works don't get overly excited and set yourself up for disappointment. And if something doesn't work, don't let it get you down and beat yourself up. Not indifferent in the sense that you don't care about anything, but indifferent in that you are not going to let people, places, things, and situations dictate your happiness.

I certainly think diet is extremely important, but there is also a spiritual aspect that you may need to consider.

Freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning is a good start.

i would second that change is gradual. it's the hardest thing in the world to simply wait (actively and consciously).

^Well said.
The secret? A latte macchiato infused with cyproheptadine and double cream.

18 Answers

Playing devil's advocate here: Are you sure you should be obsessing about health? Do you need some amazing state of well-being to do what you need to do? A lot of very sickly people have achieved amazing things. Beethoven was regularly vomiting and deaf while composing his greatest works. Being a great athlete seems to necessarily involve spending down your health. We all develop lousy health for some years and die in the end anyway, if you didn't know. Ashes to ashes and all that.

To make a parallel point, if you look at those global "happiness" surveys the people stuck in dirt poor shit-holes are happiest. No thanks, I say. I'd rather be an angsty striver and have plumbing.

answered Feb 22, 2015 by 4a552f55cbb9

The key to health is everything.
Your whole environment of the past, the present and the future.
Since you cant change the environment of the past, you can only try to optimize it for the future.
I doubt you have optimized every aspect.

-social life
-intellectual stimulation

The effect on your health and well beeing is the product of them all.
Its unreasonable to be obsessive about one factor when one or more of the others are absolut crap. Thats the biggest fallacy of the Peat community (including me).
Stop trying to optimize your nutrition to the extreme like crazy mineral ratios as long as you havent established a reasonable level on the other factors.

answered Feb 23, 2015 by tobieagle

Agreed. It is easy to forget that there are plenty of people in great health that live extremely fufilling lives and they do nothing remotely close to the principles suggested by Peat. I'm not saying one should go and consume PUFAs and disregard Peat's ideas, but it's important to create flexible boundaries for yourself. For example, I will avoid carageenan, gums, etc. as well as added vitamins in milk at all costs because they are highly problematic to my digestion. But if I am out, I'll have wheat from time to time or French fries made with vegetable oil. Broda Barnes restored the health of plenty of people at he didn't change anyone's diet or introduce supplements (to my knowledge). I also agree with your point about ones environment. Being able to laugh on a consistent basis and have a high self esteem are crucial for health.

As far as nutrition goes I think all that is needed is to keep the blood consistently concentrated with a rounded out spectrum of nutrients. For someone in pretty good health this is easy to do. Their digestion can rip apart anything into the basic building blocks and maintain it with as little as two big meals a day.

For someone in a more rough spot, they will probably do better on smaller frequent meals, but regardless I think the food choices are less important than simply getting a good mix of carbs, protein and fats from decent semi-whole food sources (AKA normal people food) and chewed very well.

I don't do well when any of the macros are much lower than the others, but when they are more equal I can eat anything and they will digest very well and supply sustained energy, warmth, pulse, mood, and well being. Being outdoors and or socializing with friends in a warm environment during and after eating also seems to boost digestion by a very large amount.

One of the buffest and healthiest guys I know simply just eats throughout the day to taste usually in many small meals. Not junk food, but definitely outside of any dietary dogma.

I definitely love me some dairy and gelatin, but it's good to know that no food is really the enemy. Not following your gut is and I can clearly trace my health taking a nosedive whenever I sleep to little and don't eat enough delicious, well rounded food to taste.

The secret is hope. I noticed that when trying something new, it would always seem to work at first, until the first bad day or experience would happen, making the whole thing crash. Once hope was gone, I felt crummy. Give up researching nutrition on the internet for a month, eat whatever you feel like and crave, and make it a point to put the time and effort spent researching perfect health towards something you love to do, or even just spending more time with people you love. For myself, this even meant having some drinks with old friends.

There is one thing left to try. Give up researching perfect health. I have never met anyone who has perfect health who actually thinks about their health. My vitamin cabinet started with b12. 2 years, a few cleanses, paleo, low-carb, and liquid peat diet later, the cabinet was overflowing with supplements, and I was hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, had ulcers, crohn's disease, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, chronic fatigue, heart disease, and multiple cancers. (self diagnosing is risky business) Giving all of that up, I now only have one thing. An over-active imagination… and the occasional fart.

Anyone remotely intelligent and with a degree can have nutritional theories and post them on the internet, where people can set it on fire, and douse it with the gasoline of their desperation.

Ray Peat is still a badass old man.

answered Feb 24, 2015 by Zach Shane

Step 1:

Have the mother conceive you while she is healthy, has a good metabolic rate, good nutrition, and low stress.

That's the most significant factor.

Step 2:
To keep or improve your post-birth status have a stimulating life, good and pro-thyroid nutrition, and exposure to red light. Avoid harming yourself with unnecessary stresses including excess exercise which can produce, for example, rhabdomyolysis.

answered Feb 23, 2015 by Anon

In reference to step 1: Even more important, in my opinion, is that your mother be a loving mother. That's huge.

If you were born normally then she was healthy.

That is huge but many people in the world, such as orphans, do not have one at all, never mind a loving one, what is such a person to do? They can get the same love from a non biological mother, but most importantley they can use the power of their mind to choose to be happy, and grateful to just be alive.

That can take many decades to learn. I haven't even mastered the art of sleeping 2 hours at a time. :-)
I don't mean to argue or get too far away from the topic, but orphans sometimes seem to have an easier time in life than children of abusive mothers. Just my opinion.

The father of the Polgar sisters, world class chess players, believed that mastery was the key to happiness. He taught them to master chess, believing that that would then lead to their happiness. From what I've heard, they are very well-adjusted, though you can never know for sure.

I'm sure hunter-gatherers, like the native americans before pilgrimage, were pretty happy. While they never strove for much beyond food, you could argue they mastered hunting and foraging. Along with living in tune with nature.

When you come down to it though, only I hold the key to happiness. And I will share it with you for the low low price of $40 per month. Though that price will go up. Because, ultimately, generosity will make you happy. So be generous towards me and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or be generous to someone who actually needs help, but then you won't get a PTP thank you email.

[Since I have been warned on pretty much every forum I've been on, and since sarcasm does not travel well in print, I must point out I am not genuinely requesting payment for anything. I hate how humourless life can be sometimes.]

answered Feb 24, 2015 by PTP

That start got me thinking. Did he believe mastery of chess was the key to happiness or just the mastery of something? How can we we truly master anything? What counts as mastery anyway, with chess as an example, computers will eventually be able to beat anyone 100% of the time, the best chess players are struggling at the moment to beat them convincingly.

Mastery of something. He also believed that education was more relevant than genetics in intelligence. He chose chess because it was a subject he was good at, and success in chess could be empirically measured.

As for whether we can truly master anything, you'd have to ask someone who is world class at something, can't help you there.

the secret to health is accepting that there isn't a secret to health. Imagine that everyone's living in their own unique story - their own parameters, experiencing their own definitions of life and health progressively. In other words: where everyone is at this specific point and all specific points is exactly where they are supposed to be. Everyone has their story of learning and experiencing - and that's the one thing they cannot lose. You lose this secret to health when you try to or think that you are in control of your own story, rather than just an active participant.

answered Feb 23, 2015 by Nicholas

I think desiccated thyroid would be considered the secret to their health for A LOT of people.

Here is a perfect example:

We can't tell you, it's a secret

answered Feb 24, 2015 by Kranum

Image and video hosting by TinyPic..

Can't decide best place to put this but this thread reminds me of this

The secret to health is simple: hiking at 9,000 feet.

Not an option? Not a problem. Get outside and walk while controlling your breathing through your nose. If you can, try using a face mask and a long rebreathing tube.

When you feel out of breath, slow down or stop, but don't breathe through your mouth.

Bring honey, cheese and home-made mineral water with you that has urea, magnesium bicarbonate and sodium chloride. At least every 90 minutes, or as often as you're hungry, take a break and eat.

Once you've hiked this way, you'll find you truly appreciate Peat's simple foods of orange juice, honey, milk and cheese, collagen and lots of strong coffee. Have some fresh liver once or twice a week if you can (or else supplement with A, B and K vitamins).

Once a day, have raw carrot and coconut oil, or charcoal.

This secret to health has seemed obvious to people for perhaps millions of years, but now with rampant media and scientific brainwashing, you can rediscover the secret for yourself.

answered Feb 24, 2015 by visionofstrength

+6 votes in 14 minutes? Wow. I didn't know we had that many visitors in half an hour.

This brought back memories for me, back before I had 2 kids, I loved going on nature walks and just enjoying life, but then the stress of kids has me a hypochondriac reading about health all day long.

This site and the forum have about the same number of unique visitors, 160 in a day. Visitors seem to browse here rather than post, as compared to the forum.

Is it possible to find equivalent for hiking at 9000 with waking flat surface? I enjoy walking and go for 2h daily strolls but I nowhere close to being tired as I imagine I would if I hiked at such a height. Maybe use bag with weights? Is there any way to imitate it without walking with mask? :D Very interested in this.


Yes, you can try to slow your breathing while you walk. The more you can slow your breathing down, and hold or pause in between breaths, the more you will be emulating altitude.

For how many people does this really work, though? I've done all of this for years, and my health is far from good, or even acceptable. Regurgitating the same basic Peat principles in every thread as though they were the only things people needed to do to become healthy makes you look pretty stupid to be honest. Not to mention that it is very disrespectful to those who didn't benefit from all this.

@Marko, you've been hiking at 9,000 feet or emulating that? And you don't feel better? Someone should write a journal article about you then, because you would be a first!

I think the problem is that there's no experiment protocol for these things, and so anecdotal reports of what someone did become unreliable.

The first of how many people? You and me? Look, it's great that this works for you, but what you said about anecdotal reports is equally true of your experience.

I personally felt significantly worse living at higher altitude. There's plenty evidence that high altitude living contributes to the generation of oxidative stress and that chronic hypoxia might cause kidney damage among other things. So the effects definitely aren't all positive.

Sure, but living at 9,000 feet is not the same as hiking at 9,000 feet. Were you hiking at 9,000 feet? for how long?

If you were in good enough shape to hike in Taos, New Mexico, and you still didn't feel great then I'd be interested to know why. Were you emaciated? I've heard that does happen, if you don't eat enough to keep up with your energy requirements. But that's the only caveat I know about, and my instructions say to eat at least every 90 minutes.

Why would high altitude hiking be better than high altitude living? I always feel worse when I exercise, so this doesn't make sense. In fact I'd expect it to aggravate the negative effects of high altitude.

Your 'instructions' are something you made up, and its quite ignorant to tout this as 'the secret to health' without presenting even a modicum of evidence.

The advantage is that the exercise at high altitude does not generate poisonous lactic acid. Peat cites to all the evidence in his articles, when explaining what conventional science calls the "lactate paradox."

Marko, if exercise makes you feel worse, I wonder if you may have fatty liver and visceral fat maybe? What's your BMI and waist circumference? That's usually a first clue.

To be a little more certain, it just takes a blood test for triglycerides and GGT:

I know of the lactate paradox, but I don't see how this is supposed to alleviate the aforementioned negative effects of high altitude living. Peat seems to believe that high altitude living is always positive.

My waist circumference is only 29 inches and I'm 6'1 tall, I might still have liver problems though.

I guess the idea is (if I understand Peat) that lactic acid builds up with hypothroidism, and especially during exercise that is stressful. But exercise at high altitude (or emulation) avoids this lactic acid poisoning. You get the benefits without the downside.

Wow, you're an interesting case, Marko! My thumbnail calculation says you might have less than 5% bodyfat? You may be running on a lot of cortisol and adrenaline from some sort of metabolic stress?

Andrew Kim has an interesting take on this here:

Do you test your blood glucose?

Your calculation would be wrong, I definitely have above 10% bodyfat. The part about cortisol and adrenaline may be true however.

Blood glucose is normal.

Your calculation would be wrong, I definitely have above 10% bodyfat. The part about cortisol and adrenaline may be true however.

Blood glucose

I use this:
It's not precise, but with a 29 inch waist at 6'1" it seems to take a 13 inch neck to get to 10% bodyfat.

Do you have any ideas about what your stress might be from? Is it digestive? or emotional? Are you on a low-carb diet?

I guess I'm just naturally very slender, an ectomorph if you will. I definitely have neither a 13 inch neck nor a dangerously low body fat percentage.

I've been following the Ray Peat high carbohydrate/low pufa approach for almost 7 years, since I was 17 years old. It's definitely not a shortage of sugar that's causing my problems. My digestion however is very weak, but I do not know why this is.

I had never even heard of Peat until about 10 months ago! I wish I had known seven years ago!

Have you considered the tetracyclines or activated charcoal? I wonder if there any resistant starches that could be giving you an antigenic burden?

An active life, temperance in eating, good friendships and going to bed with a clear conscience.
answered Apr 9, 2015 by Lemonhead

When my stress is low I always feel my best

answered Feb 22, 2015 by max219
Sunlight is generally considered to be the source of life.  It's the secret to health.

Food and sleep are important, but without energy from the sun cells can't perform correctly.
answered Mar 27, 2015 by raintree
Well i'm convinced online forums do FAR more harm than good....

I personally like to overlook some of things and see what works for some people, but i rarely take anything serious anymore

While i still enjoy reading forums, i read other kinds of forums, such as that on technology, music, DIY projects, financial...
Nutritional, hormonal, diet, etc forums always seem to stress me the heck out

I remember my doctor almost strangled me because I use to tell him " I read such and such online and i think we should do that"

Now i follow my doctors protocols strictly
answered Apr 9, 2015 by animal
edited Apr 9, 2015 by animal
I disagree.  Most doctors don't know shit.  They'll give u antidepressants when you are hypothyroid.  The medical field is fucked up.  You can't trust any of them.  Yes the Internet forums can be frustrating, but if you can sort through the bs and make your way to ray peat,  you will have all the answers you need.  I finally found a doctor who is cool.  I asked him to try Cytomel he's like okay.  I asked him to add synthoid.  He's like okay.  All he has is a hypothesis about what's going on.  Not necessarily his fault he's very intelligent but he was fed a bunch of bs info in med school.  It's like I'm playing doctor and just using him for the prescriptions.
Which doctor do you follow?What's the protocol?
Well said Ray Peat is a God.
Your problem lies right there with the phrasing. In order to understand your problem, you need to rephrase it to "What ARE the secretS to health?" this is a much more mature approach.

I say mature because I see your ego is protecting your view of the problem by reducing it to a simple factor: diet.

Health is a holistic endeavour that requires your healing mechanism (i.e. the soul) to factor in all necessary "components" for everlasting health and, if you pay close enough attention, longevity.

Your ego to me lacks experience and thus protects you from the other major causes of health and sickness. Diet is one of five factors, the others include (in order of precedence):

Social network

All of these factor into your physiological homeostasis. One without the others is none without the rest. Your ego is protecting you from the bigger and more important factors due to lack of awareness. This may be intentional because to become aware is to be in pain. To be in pain means to feel the past of trauma. This may start with your mother (usually the case) due to her stressful environment. Thus leading further into your psyche and the ego you may currently have that negates your ability to improve your well being.

Your unconscious mind (which sits in your liver) fires implicit memories to aid your ego's clarification for protection. Your fear may be immature because your ego is immature. Your thought patterns may be immature because your mother's emotional telegraphy was impaired due to high stress.

The first level of change is to expand awareness. To expand awareness is to develop RESILIENCE. Resilience is what helps you to see above the mists of emotions in the landscape of your mind. My biggest recommendation is to take up meditation. Do this first.

I would also advise beyond this to develop social interactions wherever you meet ANYONE. Develop your listening skills for if your ego is immature this is the first place to start, as listening is giving your awareness to someone who needs it. This helps to express their need for you to be in this world, which helps to give you purpose and belonging; a byproduct to a healthy self-esteem.

All this is crucial to your thyroid which is the precursor to your metabolism. Remember, your metabolism is the physical process of your ENTIRE BEING. If you are having trouble metabolizing food, your total constitution is dysfunctional. In order to change this you must expand your awareness.

Your environment is crucial. Not just spatially and physically, but RHYTHMICALLY too. Your unconscious mind puts your conscious mind under hypnosis everyday. What influences your unconscious mind is the environment. It happens in this order:

Environment (Spatial, physical and rhythmical) > unconscious > conscious > behaviour.

The bizarre part is that in order for you to change any dysfunctional pattern you must consciously become AWARE of what it is. The rhythmical environment regarding implicit memory is to do with the past. Your emotions are echos of the past. Ghosts that come back to haunt you until you relinquish them through educating your inner self.

Ray Peat has a great article on metabolism and intelligence. You should check it out:

Beyond that, I recommend Gabor Mate's When the Body Says No. There are physical signals to the ghosts that haunt you, you must learn to educate them for their misery to leave.

Misery, another thing to mention. I have known people who have developed a fetish for misery. They enjoy its painful allure and thus thrive on its illusion, but as Gabor Mate says:

"The attempt to escape from pain, is what creates more pain.”

Happiness in misery is an escape. Pay attention to this. Here is a great article on the misery fetish:

Next is narrative. Narrative is very powerful and directly ties into the rhythmical environment. It determines whether you hang around toxic people (either at home or at work), your unfulfilling occupation (dissonant to your imagined role your muse keeps speaking to) etc and so forth. I noticed someone mentioned their mother being unloving to them. There is an important factor to notice (especially with women) that until you find out her story and her past, you will never be able to over come why she hurts you. She may do this because of her unconscious behaviour related to her destructive narrative within her past. Always find a narrative to the pain people cause you, they may not know (even if blatantly obvious to you) what they mean to do. It helps to be curious to unravel these painful knots as it helps them become aware too. Narrative is interlinked with everyone. It helps to bring people closer. It helps to forgive. It helps your heart to make closure.

These are the questions worth asking before continuing any further with "diets". A good diet is necessary for good health, but not without the other factors of a healthy well being.

That is the secret to longevity.

"The problem is not that the truth is harsh, but that liberation from ignorance is as painful as being born. Run after truth until you’re breathless. Accept the pain involved in re-creating yourself afresh. These ideas will take a life to comprehend, a hard one interspersed with drunken moments."

— Naguib Mahfouz
answered Apr 10, 2015 by halken
I was with you until my liver started shooting memories at my ego.
The secret to health is explained across thousands of pages of studies, forum posts, and internet articles.  You need to read *all* of the papers, sites, and posts before you will know it. Cycling through diet, exercise, and drug regimens is also very helpful in learning the secret.

I could tell you the secret right now, but that just wouldn't be fair. To anyone reading this who knows the secret: hush! Don't let it out!
answered Apr 9, 2015 by 4a552f55cbb9
Please! I need to know the secret?
Anyway, VoS how much charcoal do you take and how often? I think you stated somewhere on the forum but I couldn't remember.
Keeping estrogen, serotonin, prolactin low and insulin sensitivity high.

The simplest way to do that is to be on your feet and outdoors most of the day (not necessarily in direct sunlight all day). With some intense activity regularly.

The next most important thing is to get enough A, D, K, E from diet or supplement.

I don't think macros or specific food choices matter as much for great health when the above are done regularly. Eating to taste should be just fine. If you have a craving satisfy it with something that seems decently high quality.

If you can't be on your feet most of the day then your next best bet is to lift weights intensely 2-5 times per week.

If you can't or don't want to do that then you might be able to get by tweaking your diet to influence hormones positively despite your lack of activity. Going high carb/low fat, or high fat/low carb seem to work ok for this. I'd go with high carb because it won't make you insulin resistant. Unless you like going into a coma from a piece of pizza.
answered Apr 9, 2015 by Brian
edited Apr 10, 2015 by Brian

It's food.

answered Feb 23, 2015 by Shredder
Eat less, move more.
answered Mar 27, 2015 by darth mall
Three meds:


The rest comes down to balancing fluid intake, avoiding PUFAs, and all the other peat shit.
answered Apr 9, 2015 by Ray Peat is a God
Good thread. I think a lot of people are following a decent diet based on Ray Peat principles and most have improved and some have not. I believe based on my own experiences that when people are trying to feel better with diet alone and can't they need thyroid. That was one of the big take homes I got from Peat. Life is too short to suffer and not take thyroid