For all intents and purposes, Eat for Heat: The Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink is the companion book to Diet Recovery 2 (both by Matt Stone). The two go hand-in-hand in terms of teaching you how to get in tune with your own personal biofeedback. However, you don’t have to be recovering from a diet to benefit from reading Eat for Heat; I’ve personally found it incredibly helpful. So helpful, in fact, that I took notes and pulled a few quotations from the book just for you.
“Before getting started, know that this is not some cure all. That’s not the point, and it’s important for everyone who reads health books and pursues different ideas to get beyond this naïve happily-ever-after fairy tale of perfect health and immortality. There’s no such thing.” –Matt Stone
I don’t “eat for heat” because I think it will solve all my problems, I do it because it makes me feel and function better. I’m sharing it with you because maybe it will make you feel better, too! But please don’t become obsessed with this method of eating, or any other method for that matter. Simply be mindful of what you eat and aware of how you react to various foods and beverages. Listen to your body and be flexible.
Concentration of Body Fluids
That’s what Eat for Heat is all about—“achieving optimal balance” in the concentration of your body fluids by manipulating what you consume. The result of that balance is a higher core body temperature and higher metabolic rate. (Read the book for all the scientific stuff.)
- Are your bodily fluids concentrated or diluted? Look at your urine: yellow is good, clear is bad, very pale yellow is on the cusp of bad, very dark yellow-orange or painful/burning is bad.
- You should urinate about once every four hours during the day and none during sleep at night. Ideal range per 24 hour cycle: 4-6 eliminations, evenly spaced, with similar color and concentration.
- “…keeping your body fluids in the ideal ‘zone’ is not something that you really do in a general way, but in a precise way with vigilance throughout each and every day…. Most people seesaw back and forth between overly concentrated and overly diluted.” –Matt Stone
Eat More, Drink Less
- Signs that you need to concentrate your body fluids: Cold hands and feet, low body temp, low energy, chronic fatigue, anxiety, headaches/migraines, insomnia, irritability, shortness of breath, brain fog, mood swings, dry skin, dry mouth, erratic heartbeat, constipation, IBS.
- When you are cold (especially in the hands and feet), pee clear, have strong urge to pee suddenly, pee many times in rapid succession or frequently, or pee an abnormally large amount, you need to eat more and drink less.
- The lower your metabolic rate, the more warming foods you need. Extensive and extended self-deprecating dieting causes cravings and binges because your body is asking for the food it needs to restore normal metabolic rate.
- Warming Foods: The anti-stress S’s—sugar, starch, salt, and saturated fat. These work better (and taste better) when combined. Super warming foods: cheese, coconut, chocolate, flours, fatty red meat, potatoes, soy sauce, ice cream, and other desserts. Also warming: sun, sleep, saltwater, and sex.
Drink More, Eat Less
- Signs that you need to dilute your body fluids: uncomfortably hot hands and feet, heavy uncomfortable pulse, headache, “doubling of gravity” or immovable tiredness without being drowsy, restless legs.
- If your hands and feet are hot, your urine is dark, or you haven’t peed in a long time, you need to eat less and drink more.
- The higher your metabolic rate, the more fluids and cooling foods you need. And the more exercise you need!
- Cooling Foods: drinks of all kinds unless they are calorie dense (like a milkshake or something). Examples: water, coffee/tea, sodas, juice, diet drinks, low-fat milk, soup (unless it is made with whole milk, salt, cheese, potatoes, etc.), fruit, smoothies made with fruit and juice and low-fat dairy, vegetables.
How to Eat
The goal is to achieve a net warming effect when you eat by manipulating the ratio of food to water.
- Eat whatever you like and are comfortable with. Don’t freak out about eating salt, sugar and carbohydrates. These foods are essential to a healthy metabolism.
- Salt food until it tastes just right. Any kind of salt is fine—sea salt, Tamari soy sauce, miso, and canning salt are better than iodized table or kosher salt. Avoid hydrolyzed soy protein.
- Eat a variety of foods and always eat to appetite.
- Aim to combine salt, sugar and starch in every meal and snack.
- Add salt and/or sugar to watery foods (like salt on fruit), or eat salty foods together with watery ones (like cheese and fruit).
- Carry snacks with you everywhere in case of a stress event (i.e., cold hands and feet, sudden urge to pee, frequent urination, sudden crash of mood or energy, abnormal pulse, headache, nausea, dry mouth or funky taste in mouth, loss of pink color in tongue). Good sweet/salty/starchy snacks to lift you out of a stress event: pretzels, crackers, chips, dried fruit, beef jerky, cheese, trail mix.
- Sugar and salt (generally ratio of 5:1) under the tongue is good for immediate relief during stress events, especially if you wake in the middle of the night between 2-4 AM when adrenaline is high.
- Temperature should rise after eating and peak in the late afternoon or early evening at 98.6-99.6.
- “Your fears and the things you are ideologically tethered to from excess internet health reading will hopefully fade pretty quickly until you are eating a more sustainable and socially-reasonable diet, and feeling a heck of a lot better than you were when intellectualizing every last detail of your food choices. If you’re not hip to that, that’s fine too.” – Matt Stone
What to drink
Do NOT drink when you are not thirsty! Only drink when you’re not thirsty if you are about to exercise or do strenuous work on a hot day.
- Water/mineral water is fine in small amounts to quench thirst. (Read the book to learn more about hyponatremia and overhydration.) If you have a low metabolism, “stop drinking so much f’ing water.” Salt and sugar rich fluids are best.
- Add salt to fluids like juice and coconut water, add sugar and salt to regular water.
- Whole milk or half-and-half are warming, and even more so with added salt and sugar. Overconsumption can be cooling.
- Sports drinks are okay.
- Coffee and tea are like water on steroids, so drink with cream, sugar, and salt or balance it with warming foods containing fat, sugar and salt. Don’t overconsume, and at the very least eat food with them.
- Soy milk: “Don’t even touch that shit.”
- Coconut milk is warming.
- Soft drinks can be better than water and fruit juice in terms of warming you up and reducing overconsumption of water. If you overconsume soda, try switching to plain water.
- Diet sodas are addictive and overconsumed. Don’t drink. Plain water is better.
- Fermented beverages like kefir, ginger beer, kombucha, kvass are all good and better than water.
- Vegetable juice is a good salty drink; consume in moderation. Go easy on the thyroid-damaging vegetables like kale and cabbage.
- Beer, wine, and mixed drinks are high water beverages. If you’re going to drink alcohol, it would be better (metabolically speaking) to have a couple shots than several high water drinks. Eat a heavy meal if you are going to drink alcohol and continue to eat salty “bar food” whilst drinking.
- Exercise is a warming activity while you are doing it and for a while after, but ultimately does not increase your resting metabolic rate and body temp.
- “If you exercise too long, too hard, or too frequently, it can indeed have a net-diluting effect on your system as a whole.” -Matt Stone
- If you over-exercise, you might notice that you pee more frequently, your pee is clear, and you will feel colder than normal on your “rest days.”
- Don’t become dependent on exercise for generating body heat; focus on eating for that.
- Progress-oriented exercise is smart and sustainable.
- Exercise should be done in moderation with adequate rest and recovery.
Disorders most likely to be affected: Any person in a weakened metabolic condition (hypothyroid, low metabolism, dieters, undergoing high stress, orthorexic, over-exercisers, food disorders, mothers, the elderly, anyone with chronic illness, recently lost weight, low muscle mass, allergic/autoimmune disorders, etc.) is more likely to benefit from following the “eat for heat” protocol. Nothing is foolproof, but increased energy production and body heat generation can help alleviate many symptoms and conditions listed above.
“…with the implementation of some of these ideas I can virtually guarantee some of the quickest and most notable changes in your physiology that you’ve ever experienced.” The ideas in this book should help your body systems work better, and when they do, health problems and illnesses can improve.” -Matt Stone