The Best Way to Know if Your Diet is Working or Not : Renegade Health Show Episode #923

Wednesday Feb 29 | BY |
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“Is the vegan diet right for me?”

“What do you think about raw milk?”

“How about the paleo diet… Mark Sisson looks ripped…”

“I really want the raw food diet to work, but…”

These are statements that I’ve heard for years now.

I’ve found that there are two ways to find out if your diet is working for you.

The first is to guess (which may give you interesting results.)

And the second is this (my thoughts follow in writing)…

My thoughts…

1. Blood tests can be a game changer.

They were for me.

Dr. Williams was able to identify an issue with my adrenals on the first round of testing. My pregnenolone level was a 6. Pregnenolone is a pre-hormone that helps produce all other hormones.

My level should be upwards of 150.

For me, this was a huge wake up call.

It made me think about everything that I was doing objectively — not emotionally.

It’s easy to get emotionally attached to a diet — you could care for animals, you can trust an expert, you can love the idea of being a person who does that diet, or you could revel in the fact that you’re different. All these emotional factors are fine, as long as the objective numbers are in alignment with them.

For me, I held on to my emotional attachments. I never wanted any part of eating anything from an animal. I liked being unique and standing out. I was deep into believing and trusting the systems of others. I, frankly, was trapped in my own emotional trap.

When I finally saw the results of my blood tests — I took them reluctantly because I was feeling so bad — I was blown away by how real they were. That my numbers were just not what I was promised by experts in — at least — the raw food world.

A serious game changer.

I’ve since changed my diet and have gotten a positive, healthy response with my tests. Everything is getting better. It’s not an overnight type thing, but most numbers are optimal and some I still need to work on like pregnenolone (110 now) and testosterone (515-ish).

2. For many blood tests can be used to find disease, but more importantly find optimal health.

Blood tests to me are one of the ultimate disease prevention tools around.

Imagine having a crystal ball that can tell you the future (why else would you have a crystal ball?)

One that you would rub and you’d see how you would look if you continued to eat the diet that you’re eating now in 10, 20, 30, 50 years.

That would be a pretty cool thing to have… or scary.

What if the diet you were eating wasn’t as good as you thought it was? What if your body wasn’t able to handle it like others who were getting great results?

This is why blood testing is so powerful.

You can look at your numbers and markers over the years and see which way you’re trending. Identifying positive and negative trends could be the thing that saves your life.

For me, I don’t have any serious health challenges, but my cholesterol started off really low around 110. Since my last few tests it’s risen to around 175. Maybe high for some, but the ratio between my HDL and LDL is much better than when my cholesterol was at 145.

So for the next blood test, I’ll see if my cholesterol continues to rise. If it does, and my ratio between HDL and LDL gets worse, then I’ll have to make some adjustments to what I’m doing. If not, I’ll keep myself on the same path.

3. You may not be eating the best diet for you. (Do you really want to know if this is true or not?)

Like I said in the first note here, it’s very humbling to find out what you’re doing diet-wise isn’t doing the best for you.

What if your diet isn’t working for you… what does that mean? Does it mean you have to change your friends? Does it mean that you have to break belief systems that you’ve set up for years? Does it mean you have to shamefully go back and tell everyone that you’ve failed?

All these considerations can stop people from changing their diet — they also can stop them from getting blood tests.

There are four types of people when it comes to diet and blood tests…

First is the person who just knows their diet is superior and doesn’t think a blood test will do them any good.

This was me. It may be you too. This is very ego based thinking. Don’t be that guy.

Second is the person who doesn’t believe the results are accurate.

Truth is, the results are pretty accurate once you have a series of tests. One test isn’t enough. You have to look at trending in the test results, not just one test.

So for instance if your BUN — a kidney marker — is high in your first test, you have to consider that you may just have been dehydrated that day and you don’t have a serious kidney issue. But, if your BUN is up on multiple tests, it will show that you do need to address the health of your kidneys.

The combination of tests helps to identify the good and the bad.

Also, it’s important to note that most people who don’t believe in blood tests have never gotten tested. This has been my first hand experience. And if they have, they’ve never done a profile like the ones Dr. Williams recommends — they only have a basic CBC with lipids. So, basically, they’re judging something they’ve never experienced — not necessarily someone I want to take advice from.

Third is the person who doesn’t have any money for testing.

I empathize the most with this person, and at the same time I urge them to find a way to get these tests done. You can’t put a dollar value on your health. Are you saying that your health is worth $500, but no more when you say you can’t afford a test or two? Something to think about.

Fourth is the person who gets their blood tested regularly and makes changes as needed.

This person doesn’t freak out about diet anymore, doesn’t put too much weight on what they read or people say — they just use testing as a marker to identify what they may need and go out and find what will get them the best results.

It sounds peaceful doesn’t it?

It is.

And I promise you can feel the same way too when you start getting tested regularly as well.

4. Where to test?

Most of you — if you have health insurance — can ask your doctor if they can order you specific tests. There’s a full list of them in “The Complete Blood Testing Program” here.

If you don’t have insurance, or you want to pay our of pocket, you can do to Here you can order tests and then take them to your lab to draw blood. It’s an easy process, though I do recommend getting someone who knows what they’re talking about to look them over with you.

Your question of the day: What is your favorite thing to do, that DOESN’T seem to get you great health results? (Mine is chocolate!!!)

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Michael says:

    I agree. Diet dogma isn’t good. But most will thrive on a plant-based diet, if it is filled with organic whole foods, not processed junk. I’ve been veg the past 4 out of 20 years, and I feel great. I got a blood test not too long ago, and it said I am allergic to cow’s milk and egg whites. Always good to know

  2. Michael says:

    also to answer your question: mine is COFFEE!!!!!!!

  3. Lauren says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Thank you for sharing this information! I’m gluten free, eating a mainly vegan diet (fish once/week) and not really feeling the results that everyone raves about. I’ve been wondering my hypothyroidism is playing a role. Am I eating too many goitrogens? Or maybe my diet is great and other factors are contributing to my low energy?

    In point number 4, you reference the Complete Blood Testing Program, but there is no link. Could you point me in the right direction of the list of specific blood tests I should ask my doctor about?

    Thank you so much!

  4. Tara says:

    Nice blog post! Yep, years ago after I switched to organic, farm fresh, non-GM, Real Foods I had my whole family blood tested only to find out we were still lacking in a lot of areas. Huh?

    Here are some of the reasons why:
    1) I was creating so much stress around getting the food, preparing the food and everybody eating every bite of the food that we weren’t absorbing the food very well,

    2) Our guts were still coated. Getting all that junk out of the intestinal lining doesn’t happen over night. Patience Grasshopper!

    3) We get into food ruts/diet dogma/comfort menu’s. When stress runs high and time is little it is easy to revert to convenience foods. Even organic health food store processed food is still “processed” food.

    Thanks for this reminder Kevin, to revisit this test to see where my family is on the map. The blood test you are talking about is a very good indicator.

    Peace and Be Well,
    Tara Rayburn
    The Healthy Habit Coach

  5. marian cooley says:

    Where is the “The Complete Blood Testing Program” list of tests? I don’t see the link anywhere in the article or elsewhere in your search engine.

  6. wendy green says:

    kevin, how did you change your diet to increase your adrenal levels? and cholesterol?

    gracias amigo

    my guilty pleasure? salmon and sardines. not sure it HURTS my health…but don’t think it helps all that much. i eat fish about once a month. also…there is a small village in ecuador that makes the BEST cheese. a few times a year, when i am there, i eat it…BUT pay for it dearly. snot, pimples and farts…OH MY!

  7. Magdalene says:

    I had the results today of my bloodtest and was surprised that my cholesterol was 260, 5 years ago it was 169. Have been a 99 %vegetarian for many years , about 75 % raw foods . My doctor advised to eat more good fats and protein and less carbs, esp. for the evening meal . This is contrary to what I have read in many books who say that protein meals are not good after say 2pm . I wonder what Dr. Williams would say to that and what are your views ? I am 75 and otherwise full of energy and in good health, no aches and pains and walk and exercise almost daily.

  8. Palo0aky says:

    actually im from germany and from my finacial situtation im not available to make a full blood test. still im very interesting on my last bloodtest i did last week. 🙂 i think i gt vitamin b12 vitamin D. and a small bloodcount.

  9. Brianna says:

    Staying up late! 🙂 and I agree on the chocolate…

  10. IH says:

    I started blood testing when we moved to the US in 2008. Had never done it before. I have blood tested twice and plan on doing it this spring again before going back to Canada. According to my military doctor at the time I was a picture of perfect health. Two years ago I switched to a doctor of functional medicine and my numbers were still very good but I have some hormonal issues that I’m addressing right now. So far I think that my diet is working for me and that I just need some good supplementation specific for me. I have compared my numbers with Dr Williams standards and I know that for a couple of things I’m in “his range” (cholesterol etc.)I’m really curious to see what my next blood test is going to reveal. My guilty pleasures? (love that question and I’m glad to answer) espresso, red wine, goat cheese and chocolate but I keep that to a minimum. My diet: mostly plants, I just happen to gravitate naturally towards plants and add a bit of fish and eggs here and there. I play around with all “the rules”. Green juices (often Hippocrates style) and wheatgrass (still yuck but it is worth it) give me instant gratification which means that I feel great as soon as I consume them so I guess that is a sign that I should keep taking them. I don’t call myself anything (vegan, vegetarian) and growing up in Europe I find that in North America the act of pleasure when eating food is totally overseen. In the health world the pendulum swings only to the extreme.You are/were or a junk food eater or a (raw) vegan. I think that that has to do with fact that North America so far has never developed its own gastronomy. It is slowly changing though which is good. Authors like Michael Polan have an important voice in this.

  11. Nichole says:

    A little good quality coffee. When I realized the yogis were even drinking small amounts, I thought, they aren’t hung up so why should I be?

    “I don’t need much, just true things from time to time”

  12. LynnCS says:

    I like Dr. Williams and thank you, Kevin for bringing a balanced view to us out here just trying to be healthy. I sure don’t want to get locked into an idea that one diet is perfect and that I don’t have to look further. It is easy to get into following a personality who believes a certain way and, who knows if that’s really the right thing for me. Requesting my own tests feels really scary since I have never ever thought of doing such a thing, but it appeals to me. I just don’t know if I could do it right. I don’t know how to get the insurance to pay for it and don’t know how I could. I want to try. I will look at your sites on this in order to try to learn. Something is definitely not just right and I feel I can always improve on my diet. I know I am never going to eat meat, so that I have to work around.

    Thanks again, Kevin, for all the work you do to bring this info to us. Lynn

  13. IH says:

    Since we are talking about blood testing: What is Dr Williams’s opinion on live blood analysis? I would really be interested to get his answer.

  14. Kevin, I am intrigued. It sounds from this post that Mister Raw Kevin has begun meat eating. Your results closely parallel my own results when i resumed meat after 14 years as a vego.

    It reminds me of an AA saying: You can’t save your ass and your face at the same time.

    The major legacy of my vegetarianism is severe osteporosis, and as a health advocate that’s a hard one to admit!

    Here’s a video my wife cassie and I did on the subject.

    Love Peace and a daily browse,
    Ian Blair Hamilton

  15. Sophia says:

    I can only say thank you, thank you for your courage. I have also been seeking for the “truth” only to find out there is not one single truth for everyone. Have you looked into the blod type diet. Anyone who knows if it works? At least it has 4 different approaces.

  16. SarahB says:

    Tara: Great points!!
    I use Direct Labs with my clients. What’s great about Direct Labs is that you order your own tests (you are the owner of your own blood and have a right to see the test results – isn’t THAT a novel approach?!)And they are a fraction of the cost of tests that are ordered by a doctor and using insurance. Labs seriously jack up the prices of testing if done through an insurance company. I get my clients to order a battery of tests that would cost $2000 dollars if done that way, but through Driect labs is $200 dollars. (I order a lot of markers because I do nutritonal blood chemistry analysis and want to see all these markers – you can order fewer markers for much less money than this). But my clients who have insurance order their own tests through Direct Labs for two reasons: 1) Most have such a high deductable anyway, so $200 wouldn’t even meet the deductable and more importantly, 2) if you order your testing through Driect Labs then no insurance company sees the results so there is no evidence of a “pre-existing condition” (the excuse insurance companies use to either not reimburse you or to drop you altogether). That way, you can work on your health issues with a professional or tweek your diet yourself f you have the knowledge and get the numbers moving in the right direction. If you want a medical diagnosis from your tests you do have to see a licensed medical professional, but if you don’t care about getting a diagnosis, then you can certainly use the testing to see if you need to tweek your diet, as Kevin said. But even if you do regularly go to a doctor, by getting your own blood tests done first, you eliminate the first doctor’s visit where you just go and he / she orders testing and does little else but you pay for the visit anyway. Direct Labs uses LabCorp, which is the same lab that most doctors’ offices use. With HMOs and insurance companies changing everything over the last few decades, the number of markers in a standard test has dropped significantly,so it is more likely that you would order more markers in your test than your doctor would, so by the time you took your test results to a doctor, your would have all the results he/she needed (plus more).

  17. Rocio says:

    Blood Type? husband and are the same and we are sooo different, how we digest, what works and doesn’t work, what he can eat and what body can not even glimpse at! I stated reacting to goji berries! how nose itches like crazy.. also to many other foods but the only one I “miss” now are my berries..they were my “sweet treat”, oh well. “never say never” one day a time I choose to remain teachable.
    many blessing! Get to take my son to drums lesson:)

  18. Julia says:

    I’ve been “person four” for the past 4 years now, getting many blood tests frequently (I order all my own online) and reversing some medical conditions naturally. I was vegetarian for many many years, and was vegan for a few years. I was the only one in my family for either as I came from Argentina – the steak capital of the world!

    Anyway, I spent over $1600 cash doing 2 different blood allergy tests and I subsequently spent the next 6 months avoiding all the foods the tests said I had some degree of sensitivity to. At the end of the 6 months I ran another blood test and the results came out worse – I was showing signs of anemia, and so on. I did not feel any better for removing those foods either. I was also showing signs of severe B-12 deficiency. Now I believe elimination diets are probably better at figuring out food allergies/sensitivities as I discovered allergies/sensitivities neither of these 2 top rated tests identified.

    I immediately decided to change my diet and add some supplements and all got better. I am currently about to try the Paleo diet to help heal my gut because I have a lot of malabsorption and GI issues, history of autoimmune disease (which I healed now) and I think grains may be causing me much harm, so I’m going to go grain free for a while and see how that goes. I’ll be adding lots of fermented foods, too, raw goat milk, and duck eggs!! Of course I’ll be doing more blood tests. I’m glad you talk about blood testing in connection to optimal health – good job. 🙂

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