Breast Milk vs Junk Food – You Won’t Believe the Similarity

One of the major points in Don’t Eat for Winter is that in nature, in autumn, the macro-nutrient ratio of available foods tends towards that of human breast milk. The macro-nutrient ratio of foods is the ratio of fat, protein and carbs in the food.  Carbs of course are both sugar and starch (see what are carbs for more).

At other times of the year, as there are so few carbs available in nature, the macronutrient ratio resembles the diet of a bodybuilder coming into their leaning up/cutting phase as the diet consists mainly of protein and fat.

Human baby milk is designed to give an infant the best start in life by making them ‘hardy’ in every way possible, some body-fat to get them started so that they have reserves in place to get them through the transition to solid foods and as an energy source in order to build up the strength to crawl and walk.  It also helps them construct a bit of muscle too and gives them all the building blocks they need to develop bones, teeth etc. properly. Human babies are programmed to guzzle on this formula as the instincts are built in to gorge on it as much as possible in order to gain weight as quickly as possible to get an initial kick-start in life.  Just ask mothers about the hassle babies give them when nursing, babies are simply insatiable.

It’s no co-incidence that foods that taste really, really good mimic this formula.  It’s not a conscious thing that confectioners and manufacturers do (I hope), they just tastes good because it triggers those primal instincts within us to encourage us to put on weight for survival purposes.  It also triggers an insulin response in the blood in order to promote storage of the nutrients contained within the milk.

As already stated, in autumn time, the food available tends towards this sort of ratio with the introduction of cereals, potatoes, squashes, fruits etc. into the existing daily diet of meat, fish, poultry, eggs etc.  We began simulating the breast milk formula with the creation of pies and tarts, with cream, which taste really good, but as we developed technologies to create more refined and quick-hit treats we created crisps/chips, donuts, chocolate bars and so on… and in my opinion they trigger a little sensation in our brains similar to when we were babies, that feel good factor that makes us really enjoy it while we’re eating it…  the same feel good factor carbs cause in autumn time, particularly in conjunction with fats in our staple foods such as meat, fish, eggs, but which also become more available in the form of nuts.

… the sensation is short lived however, and unfortunately, and we want more soon after, but it is the ultimate formula for weight gain 🙁

Let’s have a look at some of the similarities between breast milk and refined treats…

Up first is momma’s milk, all figures are from the USDA Food Composition Databases

In 100g of Breast milk there is 4.4 grams of fat, 7g carbs and 1g protein.

There is 9 calories in 1g of fat and 4 per gram of carbs and protein.

This gives us 4.4X9=39.6 calories from fat, 28 calories from carbs and 4 calories from protein a total of 39.6+28+4 = 71.6

To get the percentages then we divide each individually into the total and multiply by 100 to get the macronutrient ratio percentages ie

  • 39.6/71.6*100 = 55% fat
  • 28/71.6*100 = 39% carb
  • 4/71.6*100 = 6% protein

For simplicity’s sake let’s round them to the nearest 5 so that it’s easy to remember…


Before we get into junk food, a natural trail mix containing autumnal foods such as dried fruit, nuts and granola contains 29g fat, 45g carbs, and 14g protein. This yields a ratio of 50:40:10, which is pretty close to the ratio above but slightly heavier on the protein side (remember that ratio).  An ideal formula for a really long hike feeding your muscles with glycogen or anaerobic fuel (climbing) and putting sugar and fat into the bloodstream for aerobic/cardio fuel (walking), however, if not active, this is the autumnal fat storage formula, or as I term it in Don’ Eat for Winter, The Squirrel Formula! 

WARNING: I often see people eating healthy snacks with this formula such as nut butter and sweet apples together, which is a really healthy snack of course, or having oats and peanut butter in a smoothie etc.  again really great nutrition but they are mimicking the formula, so be careful of it when trying to shift body-fat! 

The follwing matrix shows the macro breakdown of some common tasties and the resulting macronutrient ratio, now wonder we go ga ga for these types of foods.



Let’s again round to the nearest 5

  • Dark choc: 50:45:5
  • Milk choc: 50:45:5
  • Doughnuts: 50:45:5
  • White chocolate: 50:45:5
  • Ice cream: 50:45:5
  • Danish Pastry: 50:40:10
  • Crisps: 55:40:5 (the exact ratio)

Notice a pattern emerging???  The carbohydrate aspect is slightly higher than breast milk in many of these foods, potato crisps (chips in US) have pretty much the exact same ratio!!!

Other examples with high fat/carb and moderate protein levels include fries, hot dogs, triple bun burgers, sandwiches with mayonnaise and bacon, tarts with cream, toffees, pizza, popcorn with butter and so on.

WARNING: A lot of junk foods up the sugars and saturated fat / hydrogenated fat, which make them even more appealing, this ratio is more difficult to achieve in nature but seems to put us further into overdrive. Watch foods with hydrogenated or trans fats in particular.  It’s better to eat food with natural  unsaturated fats where possible (even in treats). Natural saturated fats such as butter and coconut oil are far healthier than processed trans fats.

If supermarkets didn’t exist, besides autumn time, this formula would be nigh on impossible to replicate in nature outside of breast milk. Essentially, without autumnal carbohydrates, this formula cannot exist.  This is a major factor in the obesity epidemic affecting our planet, and I managed to free myself from obesity through understanding this fundamental concept.

Don’t Eat for Winter, through the DEFoW Diet, backs up this theory and shows you how to combat this formula in today’s world through the 10 guidelines of the diet, without cutting out carbs, but using them as a tool for brain and body.  You can still have a treat, but be mindful of The Squirrel Formula, it will make you go ga-ga like an infant calling out to their mammy for their next hit.

You can get your copy of Don’t Eat for Winter here!

Natures Intention for Sugar vs Modern Society’s Colossal Clusterf***

I’ve been thinking about a way to show the Don’t Eat for Winter theory visually and the graph outlined in this blog conveys it quite well.

As mentioned in my new book, I put an extensive list of natures produce into a spreadsheet and captured the total and average GI and GL of food (i.e. how fast and severe a blood sugar spike is caused by the food) by the season (optimal harvest months) and plotted them in a graph.

What I discovered was a bell curve appeared, showing that there is a huge spike in blood sugar spiking foods available in autumn, peaking in September. As our bodies evolved to work with nature, it was advantageous for stone age people to put on body fat in Autumn to survive the food shortages and cold of winter.  Getting fat is a talent we attained through evolution and the carb (what are carbs?) foods of Autumn help promote fat storage in various ways…

Of course in today’s society, we’ve created an artificial everlasting autumn, in food terms, as we’ve managed to not only make ALL of nature’s autumnal produce available ALL year round, we’ve also refined it and amplified it’s blood sugar spiking abilities creating an autumn on steroids, that promotes chronic indefinite weight gain, preparing our bodies for a winter that NEVER comes.  Our bodies cannot handle it, we simply did not evolve to cope with this deluge of sugar and now we are seeing the fruits of our abuse of this privilege as obesity is now killing three times as many people as malnutrition according to this report.

The graph below shows a depiction of nature’s sugar spike vs the current amplified indefinite sugar spike, but of course the amplified spike is much worse than the graph illustrates in reality, and nature would have only been a blip on the graph if scaled correctly, but for the sake of the graphic fitting on screen I had to limit it.

To find out more, get a copy of my book, Don’t Eat for Winter to discover why autumnal foods like wheat, fruit, potatoes, and refined derivatives, such as sugars, syrups and fluffy white starches are not designed to be consumed by the body multiple times a day all year long. They were designed to work with our bodies, an ancient machine designed by nature, specifically during autumn so that we would store a modest amount of fat annually, to get us through the winter, which we would lose again by spring time.

The book addressing today’s problems through The Don’t Eat For Winter Diet (or The DEFoW Diet for short), a set of healthy diet and exercise guidelines in the book, which gives you a strategy to get into to the shape nature intended for you!!! You’re designed to be perfect! This shameless selfie pic here is what happened to me (at almost 41 years of age the night of my book launch) after applying The DEFoW Diet thinking to myself. I wonder what nature intended for you?



Ladies and gentlemen…

Tonight we have a very special battle in store for you. With all this talk about sugar tax… let’s find out who is the champion in terms of blood sugar spiking mania between a popular soft drink loaded with sugar and a good old medium-sized Irish baked spud!!!

In the red corner we have a typical portion of SODA, weighing in at 250mls…

In the blue corner we have a medium sized Irish baked potato, weighing in at 150g…

SODA, the challenger, having come onto the scene mere decades ago, once a weekend novelty, now a daily treat to wash down lunches all over the world.

Potatoes, brought to these parts, in the 16th century by Sir Walter Raleigh, the staple food of Irish, until the great famine in the 19th century, where it suffered from blight, but is still part of the daily food food supply thanks to blight sprays.

Both carbohydrates (what are carbs?), one has gotten a bad rap lately and has been demonised as a main player in the obesity crisis, the other, seen as a friendly nutritious food, served in large portions in various forms in restaurants all over.

But which affects your blood sugars fastest and gives your pancreas a tougher beating?


In order to find out which food has a higher glycemic index we go to the University of Sydney’s Glycemic Index Website.  The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly the food is processed by your tummy, converting those carbs into pure glucose which then swims around your bloodstream forcing your pancreas to release the hormone insulin in order for the energy to be processed and stored. When your cells sense insulin, they open up to receive all that wonderful sugary energy YIPPEE!

It is a scale measured against using glucose as the reference, where 50g serving of glucose gives a GI of 100! BOOM BOOM lights out!

So back to our two contenders…

Fizzy soda pop soft drinks with various well known names are up first… from a search of the GI database, soft drinks gives back the following table:

University of Sydney Glycemic Index Results for Search ‘Soft Drink’

Amazing stats, let’s take Coca Cola as our reference in this match, it comes in with a GI of 63 for a 250ml serving (a typical small glass), and a glycemic load (or GL) of 16.

Aside: One unit of glycemic load is the same as the effect of consuming one gram of glucose. It is calculated by multiplying the grams of carbs in the food times the food’s GI and then dividing by 100.

In the case of a glass of “the real thing” this is 63*26/100 = 15.75

Next up is a good old fashioned irish baked potato, we all know about the reputation of the Irish as good fighters so let’s see what this old favourite yields from the glycemic index database…

University of Sydney Glycemic Index Results for Search 'Potato'
University of Sydney Glycemic Index Results for Search ‘Potato’

As you can see from this, the stats of the solanum tuberosum are impressive, and not even the king of the spuds! But lets take it as a reference…

The good old staple of the Irish for the past 400+ years has a GI of 83 and a GL of 25!!! That a right jab and left hook combination causing a blood sugar level explosion that beats the fizzy contender by 20 points on the GI Scale.

Perfoming the GL calculation of 83 (gi) x 30g (carbs) / 100 = 24.9, beating Coke by 10!!!

That’s a KO for Coca Cola from the humble Irish Baked Potato!!!

Now imagine 3 of these on your plate, with a few chips, turnips, carrots, maybe some garlic spuds and sher throw in a yorkshire pudding, and followed up by a can of coke to wash it all down… talk about giving your poor old pancreas a daily kick on the cahunas, which over time will lead to it requiring serious medical attention!

The WINNER of this round: The Irish Baked Potato

Of course this is just from a pure sugar spike point of view.  It seems hard to believe that a potato can affect blood sugar levels faster than a fizzy soft drink, but it seems the tummy has an incredible ability to break down the sugar starch (polysaccharides) in the potatoes.  It can break these down quicker than the syrups and sugars used in soft drinks.


OK OK OK, I’m giving the potato a bad rap here, they’ll be calling me ‘the potato hating Irish man’ if I don’t redeem myself. There is of course more to it than this, a potato is naturally grown produce, a wonderful gift from mother nature, and so contains other nutrients that a manufactured drink does not.

Let’s have a look at the numbers from the USDA Food Composition Database

USDA Food Composition Databases results for Potato 150g vs Soft Drink 250ml (source
USDA Food Composition Databases results for Potato 150g vs Soft Drink 250ml (source

As you can see from the table above, the potato is a great source of vitamin C, Calcium, Potassium, many B vitamins and much much more, so from an essential micro-nutrient point of view it is by far the healthier option.

Winner of Round 2: Potato

Potatoes are a rich carbohydrate energy source, and the GI of potatoes can be reduced by eating them with a meal full of fibre and protein e.g. brocolli and beef, even adding butter can lower the GI, but if you’re trying to lose weight, I would hold the fat with such a high GI food, and also make sure not to eat too much of them in one sitting.

Not all carbs are the same so be careful when eating spuds to choose your veg wisely with them, for example turnips or swede have a high GI of 70, although their GL is low enough as the amount of carb in swede per weight is a lot lower than a potato (only 10g per 150g), however something like brocolli has a very very low GI because of the low sugar content and high fibre content and thus will lower the overall GI of the meal, whereas the turnip may not.

Spud Verdict:  

Spuds are a food bursting with energy, and should be used wisely.  Remember excess sugar in blood will result in the energy being converted to fat, so eat in moderation.   Any fat contained in the same meal will also deposit more easily because of the sugar spike and resulting insulin release.

For the active: They are full of good nutrients and a useful tool for people who are very active, especially when accompanied with fibrous veg to give their energy over a longer period of time. For short bursts of high intensity cardio a baked potato could be a good tool to have in a gym bag to load blood sugar not too long before exercise (as they are almost as effective as pure glucose at raising blood sugar levels), and also to quickly replenish glycogen levels in muscles and assist recovery after a tough, heavy workout.

For the office worker/school goer: Your requirement for carbs is modest, so be careful loading the plate up with spuds at lunch time if you’re going back to work and sitting at the desk for the rest of the day.

Soda Verdict:

Soft drinks are loaded with sugar and even though they have a lower GI than spuds offer very little in terms of nutrition.  Have them sparingly or as a special treat.

For the Active: They are possibly useful for similar purposes as the spuds in the case of active athletes in order to utilise for energy purposes and re-loading glycogen, and the hit of caffeine in the likes of coca cola make them more of an energy drink over a staple refreshment. However, they offer no meaningful nutrition.

For the office worker/school goer:  A can of soda offers the body and brain enough energy for approximately 4 hours without any nutritional value of worth.  This should be considered by those sitting at a desk such as office workers and school children and thus avoided where possible. Energy should be consumed through nutritious lower gi foods where possible to supply the body with nutrients for function as well as just energy.



From a blood sugar spiking point of view, shockingly, the baked Irish spud is the clear winner so should be eaten with caution from that perspective.  Eating them alone will cause fast and significant rise in blood sugar levels comparable to eating pure glucose and even more than a glass of soda!

From a nutritional point of view, the Spud is also the obvious winner containing many essential nutrients both minerals and vitamins.

Suggestion: drink water, and avoid soft drinks, with meals containing high gi carbs like spuds and make sure they are combined with very low GI veg where possible to slow down the release of their significant sugar energy. Remember, potatoes are autumnal in nature and trigger processes in the body to promote the storage of fat for Winter.  Since they contain so much sugar energy, keep the portions small and load up the dinner plate with veg and meat/fish etc. when you’re having them. This will keep your pancreas happy and healthy long into the future as it won’t have to deal with an intense rush of glucose.  Applying this sort of thinking will help you get your body-fat down to prize fighter levels 😉

Order your copy of Don’t Eat for Winter today to discover the theory of how autumnal foods like spuds, and refined derivatives of autumnal foods such as sugars, syrups and fluffy white starches are not designed to be consumed by the body multiple times a day all year. They are designed to work with our bodies in nature during the autumn so that we store a modest amount of fat to get us through the winter. In todays society we are being prepared for winter every day of every month of every year and so chronic obesity is the result over many years of eating this way.  Let’s give obesity the knock out punch and start considering what we eat, when we eat and why we eat.






What are carbs?

What are carbs is not a silly question, many people get confused so let’s tease it out…

Carbs are short for carbohydrates.  Essentially a form of sugar that comes in many forms.  All are types of saccharide (a molecule), which is the greek for sugar.

There are basically 4 groups: monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides.

The names give away a bit about the molecules, mono means 1 or very simple sugar, di means 2, oligo 2-10 and poly complex molecules.

Let’s forget about the chemistry and put it into layman’s terms:

  • monosaccharides and disaccharides are known to us as sugar (which occurs naturally in fruits, berries, milk, honey ie anything sweet to taste). Most sugars end with ‘ose’ e.g. sucrose, fructose, lactose, glucose.
  • polysaccharides are known to us as starch e.g corn, wheat, potatoes, some vegetables etc.

When either a sugar or starch goes through our stomachs, they get converted into glucose a simple, important sugar or monosaccharide, which then circulates through the bloodstream to be used for various purposes, primarily energy e.g. to fuel the brain, or to store in muscles as a polysaccharide known as glycogen.

The stomach can quickly process sugars and starches without fibre, they enter the bloodstream fast, these sorts of foods have a high GI (glycemic index ie a score of how fast it affects blood sugar levels).

In nature, starchy and sugary carbs are most often accompanied with fibre, both soluble (flesh of fruit), which is digestable, and non-soluble (bran of grain), which is undigestable.  Fibre often contains minerals and vitamins, slows digestion (lowering the GI of the food) and helps passing waste.  It has also been shown to reduce cholesterol.

These days, processed foods take the tasty sugar and fluffy starch from the food and discard all of the fibre, and so the foods have a very high GI and very little nutrient content.  Vitamin B1, Thiamine was discovered when polished rice (rice with the outer bran removed or white rice i.e. refined carb), was the main staple of people in south east asia. People got very sick and eventually it lead to the discovery of vitamins.  Today we get vitamin B in our diets, but it goes to show the importance of fibre above and beyond helping to pass waste and slow down digestion of sugars.  It typically serves many purposes, containing various vitamins and minerals depending on the produce.

Nature seduced us with sugars, it made the food taste good, but natural foods containing sugars are also delivery mechanisms for nutrients. Refined versions tastes bloody good though, because they are the bits that invoke our ancient, primal, survival instincts.    However, these foods have such a high GI, they cause pronounced blood sugar spikes a severe resulting insulin response in the body and can cause problems for the body in the long term such as diabetes, where your cells become resistant to insulin or the pancreas itself malfunctions.

We’re not designed to eat natural autumnal produce for the entire year, never mind their highly processed derivatives.

Don’t Eat for Winter!




How to Lose Weight/Fat Fast

It might be a bit of a misleading title, because losing fat takes a bit of time and consistency, but here are my top tips on losing it as fast as possible in a safe way.

  1. Do not eat large quantities of carbs (sugar, starch) with every meal: Your body has 2 batteries for sugar energy i.e. your liver and your muscles.  If they are constantly topped up and overflowing with sugar, your body never has a chance to burn fat.  Try and reduce the amount of insulin spiking meals/snacks you have per day. I see it every day here, people eat huge lunches and dinners in carveries and at home. Recently, I saw someone get 3 scoops of mash, some garlic spuds, a yorkshire pudding, and then carrots and turnips on the same plate.  That’s boils down to enough sugar for 3 days worth of energy.  I was there, I’ve eaten that sort of food but it’s not right.  In fact combine that with a breakfast containing carbs e.g. breakfast roll, and something like a curry with rice or spaghetti bolognese for dinner and a few snacks in between and you’ve given yourself no chance but to pile on the pounds and feel terrible. We’ve only got one shot here, your head is sitting on top of the ultimate ancient machine and it’s priceless.  If you treat it right it will perform amazingly well for you and you can turn things around no matter what stage you’re at.  Give yourself the exact amount of sugar energy per day that you need and you’ve taken the first step.
  2. Exercise regularly: By exercising you utilise the sugar stores in your muscles and at high intensity you utilise the sugar flowing in your blood stream.  This means you are burning that fuel immediately by clearing excess sugar flowing in your system and emptying those buckets/sinks so that they can be refilled again.  The other main advantage of exercise, in terms of burning fat, is that your metabolism is raised while you are recovering, which means that you will be burning fat at rest at a much higher rate. It’s good to do various forms of cardio.  I suggest about 3 times a week and vary it between intense (shorter bursts / intervals), moderate and light recovery (walk, jog over longer distance keeping heart rate low, this burns a little bit of fat while exercising). Intense cardio can be very tough on the system, and as the heart is a muscle it requires time to recover and get stronger.
  3. Have satiating meals containing protein and good fats:  When you eat protein and fat together with fewer carbs, you will feel fuller for longer.  Great sources which include both include eggs, oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, nuts and seeds, and wild game.  I like throwing an array of seeds on eggs in the mornings for example.
  4. Avoid sugar and fats:  One of the concepts in Don’t Eat for Winter is that human breast milk contains the optimal formula for infants to put on weight.  It is the same practically the world over and is therefore a one-size-fits-all formula.  It is no coincidence that in nature, in autumn, the macro-nutrient ratio of foods begins to mimic this formula, whereas in spring the nutrient ratio mimics that of a bodybuilders diet.  It is also no co-incidence that the foods that taste really really good also mimic this formula e.g. chocolate, crisps, cakes and so on. We go ga-ga for mother’s milk!  Look out for foods that contain this formula of high carb, high fat and moderate protein.  It triggers primal gorge instincts and is designed, by nature, to deposit fat quickly.
  5. Lift weights:  OK it’s exercise again, but weights will improve muscle tone.  Without taking drugs it’s extremely difficult for most people to put on lots of muscle through weight training.  It’s a myth that women should not lift weights.  All Hollywood stars lift for their movies to look great.  Women might want that rounded butt (squats) or a little definition on arms and shoulders (curls and flyes).  Men might want a bigger chest and wider back (bench and lat pulldowns). Unless you train several hours a day and take steroids, you’re not going to get big.  Lifting weights causes muscles to become more toned and solid and will be useful in day to day tasks.  They will cause you to burn fat faster while resting during recovery, make you less insulin resistant and thus become sugar guzzlers helping you to manage blood sugar levels and keep in fat burning mode.  I train 3 hours a week with weights and it has given me great results with supporting nutrition and rest.
  6. Keep hydrated: Your body requires water and electrolytes to function well in every way and detoxify. There are 7 main electrolytes.  Sports drinks sometimes advertise electrolytes but often simply contain table salt or sodium-chloride.  A good electrolyte supplement can be better than these drinks as they contain the full array necessary in the right balance.  Our cells swim in saline solution, our bodies, which mimic the ancient ocean environment they evolved in, and potassium replaced regular salt as we evolved and moved inland. Potassium, therefore, is an important electrolyte that is contained in foods like bananas and in the past our ancestors, especially those living inland,  used to get most of their salts from natures produce, however today, we eat get plenty of regular salt (sodium choride) in comparison as additives etc. Electrolytes are lost through sweat, so make sure and replenish if you do sweat a lot.
  7. Supplement: Body processes such as the mobilisation of fat, to burn as fuel, requires that you have essential nutrients present to support these functions.  A good multi-vit is important, especially if the diet is bad.  Try and eat and array of colourful, fibrous foods everyday to get a good array of vitamins and minerals, and supplement with a good mult-vit.
  8. Sleep:  The most powerful anti-oxidant is sleep, your body does a lot of work to make sure you are in tip top condition when you sleep.  Make sure you get adequate sleep.  Also, sleep is the purest form of aerobic activity and your body wants to burn fat in this mode.  Keeping your blood sugars normal means your body will burn fat all night.
  9. Don’t trust the scales: Don’t look at the scales every day. You can fluctuate by 1kg a day based on  salt levels, hydration, food in tummy and waste in bladder/bowels etc.   You cannot lose 1lb in a day of body-fat unless you create a calorie deficit of 3500 calories… maybe if you ran a 24 hour marathon you could, but most of us don’t do this so it’s impossible under normal circumstances.  If you see a diet promising that you will lose 10lbs in a week it won’t be fat you’re losing. I think 50g-100g a day is a lot of fat to lose and equates to 450-900 calories worth of fat.  They say 2lbs a week is safe and I would agree.  The trick is to be consistent and if you fall, don’t worry about it, you’re dealing with primal instincts here so try not to trigger them very often. Also, if you do lift weights, you may put on a bit of muscle, so body fat is the measure of how much fat you’ve lost.  The best method to check at home is using a body-fat calipers and taking measurements from around your body. People are spending a fortune getting weighed in at slimming weight loss clubs having someone tell them they lost a few lbs a week without fully appreciating the body’s processes and how to accurately measure progress.
  10. Have a goal: What are you losing weight for?  A wedding, the beach, to get healthier, because you just want to feel more attractive.  Well, you’re already perfect, but we all want to be our optimal most-healthy selves and it’s great getting compliments when you look well and healthy.  I lost weight initially for kettlebell competitions and I didn’t realise the extent of compliments I’d get when I lost all the weight but it felt great having felt so bad about myself for years. Based on this, I set a target for my 40th birthday to get in the best shape of my life and I applied the Don’t Eat for Winter theory to assist with that and got incredible results and down to <8% bodyfat.  If I can do this having been overweight for 10 years so can you.
  11. Don’t do it all at once: Don’t try and do it all at once, make a small change today, maybe cut out one carb-centric meal. I started by cutting out toast for brekkie and have eggs and rashers/salmon or almond flour pancakes, or an omlette, even walnuts and avocado, or a protein shake with peanut butter (if in a hurry) to start and it made a big difference.  I then cut out sugar in coffee, and eventually went from latte’s, to cappucinos, to americanos and then black coffee (which I now love).  If you do it all at once you might feel like you’re denying yourself and it’s not about self-denial.  My diet might be alien to many people starting out now, but it’s so enjoyable to feel great after every meal, no slumps, lots of energy and being as close as to the best I can be.
  12. Treat yourself now and again: I have plenty of treats, and really enjoy them, maybe too many at times, but life is too short to be monk-like.  I enjoy going out to the pub, having a bit of take-away and having a nice little cake with coffee now and again.  The thing is not to have a 6 pack of crisps at home or a bag of chocolates available at the ready every day.  When I eat a bag of crisps, my pupils dilate and I become a sort of truffle snuffling primal creature and am not satisfied until the entire house is emptied of junk.  Before I know about the biological triggers, I used to blame myself for being someone with no will power, but it’s incredibly difficult to overcome primal instincts.  So now I have my treats outside the house.  That way if those urges come after the treat, I’m not in a position to gorge and I understand what’s going on now so I’m better able to deal with it.  Those urges pass relatively quickly and I’m back on the horse again pronto.

These are some simple ideas and tips, check out my book Don’t Eat for Winter, which contains The DEFoW Diet, for all the theory and fundamentals so you get a full understanding of the above and much more so that you can empower yourself with full knowledge of the instincts and processes going on, that are actually primal in nature.  Our bodies want to survive and so putting on fat was advantageous in autumn, in stone age times, in order to survive the Winter, but soon after the weight was put on it was lost, as mother nature’s autumnal produce dissipated over the winter months.  People got back into optimal condition for spring.  Nowadays all of these foods are available all the time in both natural and processed forms (I call it Autumn on Steroids), and so all those processes are triggered day in day out indefinitely. Don’t Eat for Winter is about tackling these instincts and processes in a way that suits today’s society.

Seasonal Eating on a Daily Basis

Nature used to force us to eat seasonally in stone age times because we couldn’t preserve foods long enough to last into the next season.  Foods perished and decayed and so we simply had to forage and eat what was available.

In autumn, there are lots of carbs naturally available, sugars and starches in the form of fruits, grains, potatoes (though not indigenous) etc. and the premise behind Don’t Eat for Winter is to moderate them, because eating autumnal foods promotes storage of body fat in order for human beings to survive winter.  It was once advantageous for humans to put on fat quickly, but with the vast array of autumn foods available in every shop now it means we’re Eating for Winter indefinitely and so chronic weight gain is the result.

Moderation of carbs, therefore, means simulating other seasons.  This is simulated through the DEFoW Diet.

I felt it wasn’t possible in this day and age to seasonally eat when our diets are so carb intensive, so I thought, why not split the day into seasons and eat spring, summer and autumn meals during the day.  That way over the course of the year the net difference is the same as if you had eaten seasonally.

Chapter 5 of Don’t Eat for Winter – The DEFoW Diet – shows you how to do this and provides 10 guidelines on how to live in a more balanced way with nature, to combat the effects of the artificial eco-system we now belong to.

You might have asked why I didn’t mention winter meals above, winter is sleep/hibernation and so my evening autumn meal helps me sleep into the night, as eating protein with carbohydrates has been found to help with sleep…

From the Sleep Foundation Website:

“Certain foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan that causes sleepiness. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain, which is why carbohydrate-heavy meals can make you drowsy. Proteins from the food we eat are the building blocks of tryptophan, which is why the best bedtime snack is one that contains both a carbohydrate and protein”

I tend to eat these meals later in the day as it kills two birds with the one stone:

  • they support my recovery from training (as I train in the evenings)
  • they help me to get a good night’s sleep

If you train in the mornings things need to be shuffled a bit, but that’s my personal preference.

Don’t Eat for Winter Launch Night a Great Success

The Launch of Don’t Eat for Winter by Cian Foley was held at PEAK fitness in Waterford City on the 10th of March 2017 at 8.30pm.

The night began with a meet and greet over some healthy food and drink including salmon and an array of healthy food platters.

Dr. Rowe gave a lovely speech about the bamboo tree taking 5 years to root before then growing to huge heights and applied the analogy to Cian.

Cian then gave his talk, thanking the key people in his life, who helped and encouraged him to produce the book before getting stuck into the details of the diet.

He explained how the human body is an ancient natural machine living in a modern unnatural ecosystem and how the cards are stacked against the population because low-fat diets have been incorrectly promoted for so long. He suggested that lower carb-diets are shown to work, the evidence is there, and with the current obesity crisis now killing three times as many today as malnutrition that we’ve gotten something incredibly wrong.  He quoted the phrase “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” but has high hopes that things will change.

The night finished with a book signing followed by some drinks and conversation.

The feedback from the book has been incredible and some initial customer reviews can be found here.

Following is a gallery of some of the photos from the night taken by Paul Dower from Waterford in Your Pocket.



What does a Controlled-Carb diet mean?

High-carb, low-carb, high-GI, low-GI etc.  That’s all you hear these days and foods are now being labelled with things like low-GI as if that means it passed some certification, the same way low-fat is used.

Here’s the deal.  If something has sugar or starch in it, it’s a carb and after it goes through your stomach it gets converted to glucose to provide you with energy for your brain, muscles and aerobic system (when you’re working hard). If you have an excess your body will try and turn it into fat.  Eat fat at the same time and it will also store it very effectively and make the sugar taste even better.

GI is a scale, a bit like celcius on a thermometer, except it measures how fast a food affects your blood sugar levels.  Where 0 would be the effect of something like a few scallions, and 100 would be the effect glucose might have on you.  Most other foods lie somewhere in between. You can see where foods appear on the scale here:  If something like a vegetable isn’t in the database, it’s probably because it has a negligible GI.

It gets a little more complex though.  Low GI can be a bit of a misnomer because a head of brocolli or an onion has a low-GI but that’s because there’s very little sugar in it.  However something like fibrous brown bread may also have a low GI but it will slowly release sugar into your blood stream for hours. In this way, all low GI foods are not the same, so lowering the GI does not necessarily decrease your daily carb intake.  Low GI foods that are carb loaded are digested more slowly because of the non-digestable fibre in them. This slows the release of sugar so that you have energy slowly released into the bloodstream over the course of hours rather than minutes if you had a sweet glucose drink with a high GI.

A better measure is the glycemic load or GL of a food, this number is also available for each food on and it has been suggested that this is a good means for type 1 diabetics to estimate insulin dosage.

Insulin, of course, is the response your body has to the influx of glucose into the blood stream.  The higher the GI, typically, the more insulin your pancreas will produce to force your body to try and absorb sugar, protein and fat into it’s cells.

Low GI can be a good choice, but if your feeding yourself carbs all day long, low GI or not, you are going to have a sustained level of sugar in your blood and a sustained insulin response over a longer period of time.  Some High GI foods have a low GL also such as melons, so it can all be very confusing.

This is why I talk about controlled-carb and precise carb control.  What does your body require and when does it need it most.  This is covered in detail in Don’t Eat for Winter but let me summarise here:

  1. You need 420 cals a day for brain, 60% of your body’s requirement at rest
  2. A resting body needs about 40% more so lets say 800 cals in total

As part of a 2000 calorie diet then, someone with a desk job barely needs 40% of their diet from carbs, which is about 200 grams.  Even this small amount would be difficult to get in nature at this time of year (as There’s no Starch in March, there’s a chapter dedicated to this in the book).

If you divide that by 24 hours it equates to 8.3g an hour and that’s it, unless your are active.  (Don’t look at what’s in a bottle of pop). If you eat a bowl of porridge, or wholegrain bread it’s going to give you that sort of amount per hour, which is great if you want sustained flow of sugar into your bloodstream.

Your body can store a bit of sugar in muscles and liver (in the form of glycogen), these are buckets that store sugar when they need topping up.  You can empty the muscles through exercise and the liver through fasting or not eating sugar. The liver fuels the brain from its stores when your blood sugar levels needs topping up.

The problem today, because we lead inactive lifestyles compared to our paleolithic ancestors, and are eating sugar and starch dense foods all the time, these buckets are full to the brim most of the time, which means there’s almost always and excess of sugar in our bloodstreams. The sugar can’t go anywhere, so it gets converted to fat and the pancreas is overloaded trying to do something with it.

By controlling the carb side of the diet, these buckets have a chance to function normally as short term batteries, to charge and discharge as designed.  The liver can fuel the brain, when blood sugars are low, and the muscles will always require a bit of topping up because of any type of movement.  This means when you do eat a bit of sugar, high or low gi, these stores are filled before the body has an excess to deal with.  You don’t want them emptied completely though or you won’t feel very good (unless you are on a very specific high fat diet, which I won’t delve into here).

This is what I mean by precise carb-control.  You give yourself enough each day, and then supplement based on activity.

If you lift weights, you burn glycogen so supplement.

If you do intensive cardio, you cannot burn fat fast enough aerobically to generate the energy so you need to supplement.

If you work all day with a manual job you need more than the 8.3g an hour the desk job person needs so supplement.

Otherwise, don’t supplement, have the precise amount you need, and try and get the rest of your energy requirement and your bodies nutrients from healthy fats & protein sources.

This has worked miraculously well for me and now all I look at is the carb side and try get good protein and fat sources too for the rest. The DEFoW diet is a set of guidelines around this way of thinking, with suggestions about combinations etc.

Think about it, 10000BC, to get carbs was difficult, except for Autumn.  The body is designed to work with a minimum of this type of food for most of the year, and when it’s available, it stands to reason the body will react differently.

We feast and get fat for Winter.

So Don’t Eat for Winter by controlling your autumnal carb intake.


Don’t Eat for Winter Book Launch

Press Release

When: 10th March 8.30pm,
Where: Peak Fitness, Cleaboy Business Park, Waterford

Cian Foley, IUKL Amateur World Kettlebell Champion, has just released his new book entitled Don’t Eat for Winter – Unlock Nature’s Secret to Reveal Your True Body with a set of 10 guidelines known as The Don’t Eat for Winter Diet or The DEFoW Diet for short.  The book is a labour of love, created from solid research and personal experience, which stemmed from his own transformation from an 18 and a half stone couch potato to a 12 stone, lean and mean world champion. He is passionate about helping people who are in a similar situation to where he was just a few short years ago, when he suffered from various body pains and low self-esteem issues. He also feels it will be useful for people who wish to lose those last few pounds and get the body they’ve always dreamed of.

Cian’s transformation from obesity to athletic

The premise behind the book is that nature produces an abundance of carbohydrates (sugary and starchy foods), such as grains, fruits, root veg, potatoes etc. in Autumn time providing a feast to fatten up human beings in order to prepare body for the oncoming famine and cold of the immediate winter ahead. He believes this is the fundamental reason why low-carbohydrate diets are so effective as part of many fat loss diets and programmes.   Just as squirrels get fat for winter, human beings have the same primal gorge instincts and body functions that trigger and promote fat storage for winter survival.  In today’s society, with the advent of preservatives, deep freeze storage units, international transport; autumnal foods, and their processed derivatives, are available all year round in supermarkets and petrol stations, and so human beings are subjected to foods that stimulate fat storage over years and years preparing the body for a phantom winter that never comes (from a dietary point of view).

Cian states that “There’s NO starch in March, look outside do you see any fruit on trees or grains in the fields? No, they simply don’t exist at this time of year! Nature used to moderate carbs for us through the seasons but now that she has been taken out of the equation, we must take on the responsibility and moderate autumnal foods ourselves, in particular carbs (ie sugar and starch) in order to prevent chronic obesity and resulting health issues such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. I’m not suggesting we cut them out of our diets completely, they have their place in the Irish diet as we love our spuds and bread, but we must understand them and their effects on the body, and control their intake based on our individual energy requirements, which I explain fully in the book.  Through understanding the fundamentals, we can tackle the obesity crisis which is affecting so many people today including our children.”

It is now known that the sugar industry incorrectly promoted low fat diets over low carb diets, which has led to many people resorting to low-fat foods with high sugar content, however research has shown that lower carb diets improve heart health, reduce fat and promote general health and wellbeing.  The world is suffering because of the low-fat fallacy with obesity now hitting record levels, in fact, obesity is now three times a bigger killer than malnutrition.  We’ve practically solved world hunger with abundance, however this has caused a larger problem because the human body has not evolved to deal with the massive amount of sugar and starch in the western diet.

The book also discusses human energy systems including brain requirements, anaerobic and aerobic systems and how different foods affect and support these systems in order to give the reader a deeper understanding of how to get the most out of their greatest asset: their body.

Cian, through Don’t Eat for Winter, intends to assist with the fight against the global obesity epidemic through providing a nutritious, balanced, controlled-carb methodology known as The DEFoW diet in conjunction with recommendations on exercise in order to use this little secret from nature to transform their bodies into the best version possible and he’s used it to great effect on himself and his wife Nicola.

Cian, speaking about the effects of the diet said, “After seeing my own results, my wife was eager to try out the diet and, to her amazement, has seen incredible results.  According to her most recent body scan, she dropped over a stone of pure fat that she didn’t even think she had to lise, giving her a bodyfat percentage of 18%,  comparable to an athlete, she looks amazing, has more energy and feels so much happier and confident in herself”

Nicola Foley, post transformation

Cian is launching Don’t Eat for Winter next Friday Night the 10th March at 8.30pm in Peak Fitness gym, Cleaboy Business Park with guest speaker Dr. Mark Rowe, who has witnessed Cian’s transformation and written the foreword, endorsing Cian’s new book.  All are welcome along to pick up a copy and ask Cian any questions they may have related to the concept.

Cian is also manning a table at Ardkeen Enterprise Village on Saturday the 11th of March from 10am to 1pm if you cannot make the launch and wish to pick up a copy.

For more information or to purchase Don’t Eat for Winter please visit


Event page on facebook:

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Overwhelming Response to Book Release

I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the initial response to the release of my new book Don’t Eat for Winter. The first batch of books are now winging their way to people all over Ireland and the world, including Denmark, Netherlands, UK, and the United States.

Thank you so much for your support and confidence. I cannot wait to discover what you all think of the book and hopefully it will help you in some small way towards attaining your goals in 2017.

The book is being launched next Friday night in Peak Fitness, read more about the launch here.

Best regards,