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

Maasai warrior diet

Milk, blood and meat.

No gut irritants/inflammation
Nutritional needs met
Milk sugar for an oxidative metabolism. Add some sucrose if you want more.

Why is this not an optimal diet?

asked Mar 11, 2015 by Shredder

coffee, tea and tobacco, too

Also probably no need to add sugar to milk -- like pretty much never

And it's often fermented milk btw. So, yogurt/kefir sort of dairy.
*douple post*
Its not even that low carb when you consider that fresh blood and meat has some carbohydrates.

5 Answers


answered Mar 12, 2015 by Illusion

Yes, gosh! This would only be good if you have a masai warrior level of activity! It could be too much meat for sedentary denizens of the industrial world.

Personally, while eating at least 2500-3000 calories a day if relatively sedentary and sometimes being very active (then eating probably 4000 at least), I can still only say 'gosh' and I like meat and eat it pretty much every day. But only animal food? I couldn't live without eating any fruits or sweets. Milk just doesn't count as a sweet food, unless combined with tons of sugar (or in other 'forms', such as ice cream or milk chocolate obviously). I never drank blood though and people mostly describe it as tasting like 'metal' but many also say it tastes sweet. So maybe blood 'satiates' ones desire for sweet, who knows?

This is an article by Chris Masterjohn, where he argues that the Masai diet was a bit more varied:

"Merker’s extensive study reveals a people who herded cattle for a living, not simply to consume milk, meat, and blood, but to trade with neighboring tribes for a great variety of plant foods and other goods. It reveals a people who used hundreds of local plants for a great variety of purposes, and who regularly consumed wild honey."

"The myth that the Masai eat nothing but milk, blood and meat is derived from the idealized diet of young warriors called moran, a diet that men only eat for 15 years of their life...."

"Merker’s study, moreover, shows that even the supposed exclusivity of the warrior diet is a gross exaggeration and ignores their extensive use of herbs and tree barks, as well as the fact that necessity often drove them to consume honey, roots, tubers and fruit as sources of water and calories while on the march."

However, I am not sure that the "mythical" version is sub-optimal. Here's a blog by a woman who only eats meat for health reasons:

I feel so sorry for the Masai. What did they do to deserve the attention of peatarians.

Similarly: what did we ever do to make you so obsessed with us?

(Apart from being radiant, brilliant, and irresistibly sexy, that is).

Drink a lot of milk and eat little starch.

This milk, meat and blood thing isn't unique to the Maasai either. Bronze Age Eastern European Steppe nomads were doing this diet, but with horses instead of oxen. Compared to the Maasai, they were probably more "strict" with it as well, though can't be certain.

Poor peatarians. Why do they deserve IslandGirl's obsession?

I rather like her attention. Makes me feel special.
I have found that reading Islandgirl's comments can also be great for the self-esteem in a different way:  If *everyone* around me is *always* kind, generous, and wise, it can make me feel like I don't quite measure up....  
At those times, seeing the irrational ramblings of a hostile egomaniac can make me feel much better.  :-)

That reminds me:  Thanks for commenting on that post, Islandgirl.  (You know:  The extraordinarily positive one about the Grandpa with Alzheimer's who is doing really well).
I don't know why everyone demonizes her so much -- she doesn't even say anything particularly bad.

First, a few definitions:

hostile:  "unfriendly; antagonistic."
irrational:  "not logical or reasonable"
egomaniacal:  "overly concerned with one's own desires, needs, or interests"

I stand by my comments.  I unfortunately don't have time right now to do justice to even a small fraction of her hostile, irrational, and egomaniacal comments (because she has amassed a truly impressive body of work), but I will name a few things that I can recall off the top of my head.  

The latest such comment appeared on the "Successfully Reversing Grandpa's Alzheimer's Thread", where her first (and only) response to an extremely positive/moving post by Qiguy97 (who claimed to have good results using "a Peat-influenced approach along with some of my own research/thoughts"),  was to accuse of him of being "very dishonest" because he added a few supplements that were not Peat-influenced to his heavily Peat-influenced approach.  

He calmly and accurately showed her exactly how she was completely wrong in her assessment.

Did she then acknowledge that she was wrong (or irrational), and apologize?  No.   Did she apologize for needlessly bringing negativity (i.e. hostility) into the thread? No.  She was not focused on the fact that someone's Grandpa was doing well.  She was not focused on exactly how the protocol may have helped to reverse Alzheimer's disease.   In my opinion, it is clear that she was "overly concerned with her own desire, need, or interest" to make sure that nobody even partly attributes any possible success to any of Ray Peat's work.  By definition, she was behaving egomaniacally.

I also remind you of this quote:
"Most people who follow Peat's advice do not get well and even get worse, but they still defend Peat's advice while hiding their unhealthy, unattractive bodies behind a computer."

And this one:
"They are nothing like the typical peatarian, who is fat with bad skin and man boobs in spite of the hormones and massive does of supplements."

Firstly, I would like to know the basis for such claims (there are many more where these came from), and I have asked, but gotten no response.   Secondly, I asked for her photo, since nobody but a *total hypocrite* would accuse others of "hiding behind the computer" while *hiding behind the computer herself*.  Again: No response whatsoever.   These are clearly not only hostile claims, but irrational ones.
Finally, even if, for argument's sake, we accept the notion that the typical peatarian is fat and hideous, how constructive is this kind of statement?  Even if it's a little funny to see such comments:  Are we okay with fat and ugly shaming on a site that is supposed to be focused on science and health?  If I were overweight, or a man with large breasts, or had "bad skin", and I actually wanted help addressing such issues, I would hesitate to post anything about it because I wouldn't want to have to deal with such disgustingly immature bullshit.  Do YOU think she says these things out of compassion and concern for all of the unhappily overweight and ugly peatarians?  Or do you think she says them to somehow weirdly affirm herself?  I ask YOU:  How does that NOT fit the definition of egomania?

I could also direct you to the thread:
"Jess Ainscough a.k.a. the Wellness Warrior has died" where the Gerson therapy was discussed, and someone mentioned that Peat had a lot of respect for Dr. Gerson.  She responded with an error-filled, truly preposterous rant about how "anti-Peat" the Gerson therapy is, and how Gerson would have "laughed" at Peat's recommendations.   

She commented on other threads in the post, and her comments are filled with misattributed quotes, straw man arguments, and more errors.   At no time did she respond to a single question or acknowledge a single point.  

Similarly, on the post about hydrogenated coconut oil, she made her usual tiresome insults, and Vision responded admirably:  He patiently asked her if she had listened to the interview, and if she had, what she thought about it.  And do you think she responded?  Of course not!

She is not interested in discussion. She is an island.  
This perfect song reminds me of IslandGirl:

Perhaps my sarcasm was misplaced, but I absolutely do not demonize her.  I see her as a smart, emotionally troubled person who frequently exhibits hostility, irrationality, and egotism.  And she is not going to be helped by people pretending that her behavior is that of a reasonable, compassionate, and emotionally mature woman.
My post was more along the lines of 'there's no need to get so emotional about what people say on the internet' kind of thing.  

But I do agree with her comment that people don't seem to get better following the dietary advice given by Danny Roddy and then ascribed to Peat.  

I also don't see how comments to get people off of a diet that isn't helping them (whether it be true for everyone or not) to be self-affirming rather than helpful.
Oh brother.

Did you even read the lame comment that she wrote in this thread?  Was she sincerely concerned about the Masai, too?  There was no "emotional" reaction to her trolling here.  It was the Grandpa with Alzheimer's thread that prompted my response to Spokey.    

I'm sure you're just trying to be a nice guy, but even Islandgirl isn't misguided enough to think that she is sincerely trying to be "helpful" when she tells us how ugly and deluded we all are.

What is the Masai murder rate? I bet it's very high.

People interested in nutrition go on about cancer and such-like in archaic communities. I don't think they properly account for murder. If you're not Mr. Alpha Genetics with the right family connections in a lot of these societies you wind up stabbed.

answered Mar 13, 2015 by 4a552f55cbb9
answered Mar 22, 2015 by Kasra
Thank you.
This might also be worth considering:

The good health of the Maasai might be a result of their very high physical activity (as reported here: rather than their diet.
The following question was asked on Quora (first in the OP about drinking human blood, and later in the comments about drinking animal blood)

> Would human blood be a healthy drink for humans? Not that I want to try


Ian York (Virologist, immunologist, biologist) answers on Quora:

> Human blood would be a terrible drink for humans.  Not only would it have an excellent chance of spreading disease, it has very little nutrition and contains toxic components.

> I think the disease concern is obvious.  Any blood-borne disease (hepatitis C, hepatitis B, HIV, many more) would have the potential for spreading this way.

> As for nutrition, blood is mostly liquid.  If we look to vampire bats to see how they manage, we see that vampires drink over half their weight at each 30-minute meal [1].  They manage this by rapidly absorbing the nutritive parts of the blood and peeing away the rest [1].  Humans aren't able to do either of these -- the rapid absorption and the rapid urination are both specific adaptations -- so humans would have a hard time getting much nutrition from blood.

> Then there's the toxicity issue.  Blood is very rich in iron, obviously, and iron is very toxic.  (Iron poisoning is one of the more common toxicities in children.)  Again, vampire bats have specific adaptations to deal with this ("The common vampire bat maintains iron balance by severely limiting the percentage of iron absorbed from its very high iron diet" [2]).  Humans trying to get enough nutrition from blood would poison themselves with iron.

*Update to add: Quora User asked in comments if the same applies to animal blood too*  

> With animal blood, there's much less concern about blood-borne pathogens, so let's look at the toxicity.  There's a huge range of concentrations at which iron can be toxic, depending heavily on the precise form of the iron (which affects how well it's taken up into the body).  Since heme iron is taken up well, I'm going with a relatively low concentration of 10 mg/kg as an acute toxic dose [3].  So let's say around 500 mg total (for a 50 kg person) would be getting into a dangerous range.

> Most of the "blood iron concentrations" you see are only serum concentrations, not counting hemoglobin, but some search turns up 50 mg per 100 ml of blood in whole blood of humans [4] and I will assume that's the ballpark for animals as well.  

> That puts you into a danger zone with just a liter of blood (500 mg iron), which really isn't all that much.   

> I don't know how much nutrition there is in blood, but I think it's fair to assume that it's significantly lower than milk (which is, of course, designed specifically to be nutritious).  Drinking a liter of milk a day would certainly help with nutrition, but wouldn't be close to sufficient for most 50 kg people.  

> So (TL;DR) it seems likely that even animal blood would be pushing the toxic envelope before it was a significant contribution to nutrition.

> What counterexamples come to mind? **It's widely known that Masaai, among others, mix cow blood with milk for a drink.  But as far as I can tell this is mainly a ceremonial drink, not a daily staple; and though I can't find a recipe the blood is diluted into milk at least 50:50 and maybe quite a bit more**.

> Things like blood puddings and the like are other possible ways to ingest blood, but I have no idea how much volume of blood ends up getting ingested there

Dr. Joel Fuhrman has written an article about the misinformation being spread around the diet of the Inuit and the Maasai (posing their diets as an example of a long-term healthy diet):


This comment on the article, about the Maasai says it all for me:

> Barry Groves theory that we are actually carnivorous animals and more carnivorous than dogs and that plants are actually not necessary or suited for us is not one any of his collegues accept, in fact Weston Price himself would say Groves is hallucinated as Weston Price praised the virtues of vegetations, suggested a diet that was not high fat or low carb and suggested everyone to eat starch foods like grains, legumes or potatoes.

> But remind this when you want to know where Barry Groves is coming from: he believes we're carnivorous animals that thrive on a meat only diet, to him we're more like tigers and lions than primates

> This belief thought is not shared by low carb authors, paleo diet authors or traditional diet authors.

> **Masai and Inuits are two extremes examples. There are studies proving that Masai suffer from cardiocirculatory and neurologic disease (Masai are not immune to atheriosclerosis for example)** and their diet is rich enough in carbs not to be ketogenic and certainly not a carnivorous meat-only diet.

> There are evidences that Inuits adapted to an extreme diet in an extreme environment, that they have metabolic peculiarities and optimal for cold climate fat distribution and yet they have been suffering from liver enlargement and electrolytes deficiency

> Steffenson himself wrote that a 40 years old Inuit looked as old as a 70 year old American.

> **Talking about traditional hunter/gatherer populations, of all examples of traditional hunter/gatherer diets Groves took the two extremes as an ideal archetype. But the truth is that majority of hunter/gatherer diet are in the middle of the dietary spectrum consuming a balance of animal foods and plant foods**.

> For example the Bushmen consume a diet which is 75% plant food, their staple are nuts and they believe that there can't be health without plant foods while their animal food staple is fish

> **Not only the Bushmen are fit, healthy and strong but they're healthier than either Masai or Inuits**

> **So, one wonders why among the dozen of healthy hunter/gatherer populations that share a common health and dietary pattern with a big consumption of green, fruits, roots, tubers, nuts and plant food in general Groves based his idea of dietary perfection on just two isolated, extreme and not even ideal cases**

> Comment by Davide - May 5, 2006 4:31 AM
answered Mar 16, 2015 by WhatEverWorks
edited Mar 16, 2015 by WhatEverWorks
Eh, I'm extremely skeptical about the claim that San bushmen (or any other primitive living people) are healthier than the Maasai.  

Maasai aren't carnivorous in any sense of the word, they very occasionally take blood from animals, probably more as a supplement.  Most of their diet is milk, slightly cultured milk, and maybe some carb sources.
I was interested in this quote:

"There are studies proving that Masai suffer from cardiocirculatory and neurologic disease (Masai are not immune to atheriosclerosis for example)"

Don't suppose anyone has a citation for that? I also wonder if these might only be significant in modern Masai exposed to modern foods, which would water down the point considerably.

Regarding iron poisoning, I think the Masai don't drink neat blood, they have some method of preparation that involves mixing with milk and putting in a gourd. I don't know what else is entailed but I wonder what effect this might have on the iron consumed.

I've also heard it claimed that the Masai get a lot of parasites, don't know if this is true or not, but if it is; parasitic worms can be a significant cause of anemia. This might protect them from the ravages of iron poisoning. Or the high iron might protect them from the ravages of the parasites.

"**Not only the Bushmen are fit, healthy and strong but they're healthier than either Masai or Inuits**"

I'm a bit hazy but I think W.A.Price made the same observation.
Well, whether or not the Maasai really ate this diet, or were a lot more relaxed, wasn't my main query, but rather what do you think of the hypothetical Maasai warrior diet?
answered Mar 19, 2015 by Shredder
That its possibly not optimal if the observation that bushmen eating a different diet were in better health, is true.
Well, the Maasai apparently didn't actually eat this diet, so maybe comparing them to the Bushmen isn't the be all and end all. Plus, is that claim true? Who knows?

Peatarians also like physiological explanations.
I would think that the hypothetical diet could be healthy relative to a lot of modern diets (provided that the "meat" includes the entire animal), but that it would be too high in iron and age-accelerating amino acids to be optimal  (especially if we define optimal as enabling one to realize one's maximum potential lifespan).
But with a little tweaking, I think it might be optimal.  For example, if one were to replace a quart or two of the protein-rich milk and iron-rich blood with a fruit juice (like orange juice or watermelon juice), that would lower the excessive protein and iron load and provide a source of vitamin C and other anti-oxidants.  I can imagine that being optimal.