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Wanted to start a conversation on Supplements.

Early in my journey I was drawn into all the supplements. Pre, mid, post workout, protein, magic pills. Mostly they just made me feel cagey and prevented me from eating real food...which I knew was bad.

For about a year now...I've subscribed to the:

"If it doesn't grow, run, fly, or swim" methodology and really pushed back on people in the industry pushing another magic pill and powder.

And for the most part...this has been very successful.

I think we can and should get all our basic requirements from real food. This is a moral and ethical point of view as much as a health one.

But...as my work capacity has grown and my sleep (2 children under 3yrs) all but disappeared I've been thinking about the difference between a healthy homeostatic diet vs one that is optimal for recovery from my daily activities.

This has brought me back slightly to a view that some supplements may have a place to help recover in specific situations (not all the time and forever...in which case I should be adjusting my overall diet with natural foods).

So I've been playing with:

-Fish Oil

-Magnesium

-Zinc

-Vitamin D

- An organic Greens Powder as a multi-vitamin of sorts.

-bone broth

Placebo or not...I've felt good effects on this...especially sleep...my short sleeps (~3hours max at the moment) feel more restorative.

Anyways...what do you take? And Why?

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I dont take any supplements. (PS: I wouldn't call bone broth a supplement! great food that people should get right into :D).

Basically in all of my life I strive to be as independent as possible. Having a dependence on a particular supplement to get by (whether that be the morning coffee to be able to not be a zombie, needing particular vitamins to get through life or whatever) is something i try to avoid, as I like to be able to go anywhere and do anything even if those things are not available. So basically I stick to your same idea of eating things that are good as often as possible - I like to think of anything that I could hunt, forage, or create on my own if i had a simple farm with no fancy machines. I also indulge from time to time in processed stuff or stimulants or whatever, either for social purposes or just because I feel like doing something different. Basically as long as I don't rely on it or have a habit around it, I don't mind engaging.

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@Craig

A few things you said...I really agree/connect with:

1) being within a realm of self-sufficient (survival, hobby farm)

- I bought a pressure cooker canner for this reason, and make my own quark, beer, jam, salsa, kimchi, pickles..........pants once or twice (yes I can sew...not exceptional, but acceptable)

2) not being dependent...I love coffee and booze...but regularly take week plus breaks to ensure I'm not dependent.,.i also try to vary what I eat daily and eat seasonal.

I get clients to keep a food journal...not to count calories...but to 1) show them that they likely eat the same 8 things every day 2) help them build mindfulness about how food makes them feel.

Given my results/feelings this past week with the vitamins...I'll be looking for natural sources to boost these...that said...the accessible diet today may not be biological optimal or even sufficient. We've changed the environment and our food sources substantially in a shorter time then it is reasonable for us to have evolved. Selective breeding and monoculture of Yummy varieties vs nutritionally best and diverse...I do try to eat heirloom and rare breed and wild where/when possible.

Interesting topic for sure.

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As far as diet goes diversity is probably the key. In order to avoid deficiencies. Also diversity is interesting.

What is that about skipping the coffee, that is a heresy! (drinking coffee)

There is an old adage about eating the rainbow, it is probably not bad advice. However, conventional produce from the supermarket though a tomato has a tomate-like apperance, it actually has very little to do with an actual tomato both in terms of flavour and nutrition (probably correlated). Wild is preferable, but then again that can be very hard to come by in an urban environment.

I think that diversity should also be sought in terms of protein, again diversity is key. (An aside: I have Australian Wild Boar in the fridge is this truly wild game or is it farm raised?)

Supplements, there is a short list of things that are relatively inexpensive and have been found to work, see examine.com.

Then only supplement I have used lately is Vitamin D (tested low) apparently sun-exposure is not enough at my latitude - I would guess that most of Aussie is a different story. Vitamin D is dirt cheap so there is really no reason not to take it if there is a need.

Apart from what has already been mentioned there is creatine and protein powder.

Protein Powder is more a food, than a supplement. Since I think it is rather bland and uninteresting I have not been using it. Getting my fixed-nitrogen from whole foods instead, but I can imagine there might be scenarios where it might be useful. My primary concern about it health wise is that it is usually paired with preservatives and artifical taste and perhaps sweeteners. I prefer to drink milk or eat yogurt instead. Also most of this stuff is decidedly not organic, or pasture raised.

Creatine, well, have not tried it. So maybe others can share their experience? It seems to be one of very few universal supplements. Also it is a low budget supplement, and thus does not detract from eating real food. As far as memory serves me, there can be a weight gain from an increase in body water. Which is one of the reasons I have not tried it, doing body weight exercises putting on more weight is a poor idea.

regards,

Frederik

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I have some unique RDA challenges eating totally vegan. While I've never had an issue with it (after 4-5 years) I like to be proactive. I take a daily horsetail stem capsule (250mg calcium), sublingual methycobalamin (B12) and drizzle flax seed oil on veggies daily (omega-3). For extra protein I drink pure split pea protein powder every day. Also, I drink a big glass of fermented kefir tea every morning as a natural probiotic, which has been great for my digestion.

This with lots of veggies, a bit of fruit, some nuts, fermented veg proteins and a cup of oats every morning, it means my macros, vitamins and minerals are pretty solid.

I may also soon look into an iron supplement, because I do a fair bit of road running.

On strength training days I open an anabolic insulin spike with 50:50 maltodextrin and dextrose monohydrate. I also take 3g of creatine pre-workout to assist with high-rep work (personally, it makes a big different in output).

I also drink ground ginger, turmeric and black pepper mixed with water most days of the week to minimize DOMS inflammation.

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That is some regimen you have there Tris! but you have done your homework it seems. Iron is probably a very good idea. Many women are low because of periods, and low dietary intake. Especially with a vegan diet this might be an issue? Easy to correct though, and it is part of basic blood work if there is any doubt.

I also drink ground ginger, turmeric and black pepper mixed with water most days of the week to minimize DOMS inflammation.

Drink it? Is there a issue with heat? It seems like a foul mixture, for a drink that is. In a curry it makes total sense (also some chili and garlic perhaps?). But then again maybe you can enlighten me.

--

Does anyone have insight into seaweed or sea vegetables?

It somewhat blurs the lines between supplement and food. It has a fair amount of trace mineral perhaps most importantly iodine. Most processed food or ordinary table salt has added iodine, since our soils are mostly depleted and few get enough sea food to make up for it. Of course it is not something that should be done to excess. Iodine can be toxic in large doses. Also it can add texture and a salty flavour to soups and stews.

regards,

Frederik

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Sure is! I was a bit shocked to see all the things I do as I listed them in the above post. I guess when you slowly add things one at a time and they get fixed into your routine, you don't really notice them. :huh:

Is liquid ferrous sulfate a good iron supplement? I am a period-less male, but yes I wonder if being vegan and also all the road running (with the foot-strike hemolysis) means I could benefit from more. Blood work sounds like a good idea as I am young and very much in prehab rather than rehab.

The spice drink is fine as long as it's diluted enough. I use 1tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ginger and 1/2 tsp black pepper mixed with about 500mL (17 fl oz) water and it tastes like ginger tea with a good kick of heat. Not the most wonderful gastronomical experience, but definitely not disgusting. You can also add citrus (eg. lemon/lime juice) to balance the flavour.

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The spice drink is fine as long as it's diluted enough. I use 1tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ginger and 1/2 tsp black pepper mixed with about 500mL (17 fl oz) water and it tastes like ginger tea with a good kick of heat. Not the most wonderful gastronomical experience, but definitely not disgusting. You can also add citrus (eg. lemon/lime juice) to balance the flavour.

I've been doing this too (same recipe) for about a month.

Not sure I'll continue...I've not felt a difference and it make my stomach feel pretty awful for an hour or so after.

The taste of the drink isn't too bad...especially with the lime juice.

However...no issues cooking with tumeric and black pepper.

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Is liquid ferrous sulfate a good iron supplement? I am a period-less male, but yes I wonder if being vegan and also all the road running (with the foot-strike hemolysis) means I could benefit from more. Blood work sounds like a good idea as I am young and very much in prehab rather than rehab.

Non-menstruating males are the best kind!

I wouldn't know about specific iron supplements - some is hard on stomach and can cause abdominal discomfort so there is that. Non-haeme iron is in foods besides animal products (leafy greens - though as far as I remember the absorption is not as high as haeme-iron. However, barring menstrual blood loss deficiency is probably sufficient? If you are eating vegan, and are worried about deficiencies, I would have some sort of regular blood work done anyway. Massive supplementation can also cause issues.

A good point about supplements is that there probably should be a clear indication(s) to the supplement(s) taken rather than: "It is probably good for something." Unless there are symptoms ie. fatigue - then blood work at the next "check" at the doctor is probably more than sufficient.

regards,

Frederik

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A couple notes

@Tris...this is why I couldn't be vegan...I could be wrong but seems harder to be complete without using supplements and food products (protien powders and other refined products)

At the moment I'm pretty close to eating just things in natural forms.

I understand the ethical moral arguments. My wife was a vegan when I met her.

And I do believe if you can't kill it yourself (skill, constitution etc) then you shouldn't be eating it. As a younger person I was involved in the slaughter and Preperation of meat (chickens, fish, rabbits, deer, moose, goat)...and while not a pleasant...does make you appreciate and respect the animal that died for you.

@Frederik

Some times you don't know till after you try...some people don't realise the pain they are in till it is lifted...our body stops listening to constantly negative signals.

But agree...there should be some logic behind the action.

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@ Adurst,

Agree with the comment about veganism in general, but lets not go there! Everybody has their own preferences, and I am violently opposed to dietary dogmatism/fundamentalism. Usually discussions veganism gets sidetracked, at some point Nazis will be mentioned: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

Sure, self-experimentation is something to be embraced. My only point is that there is a smart way to do it. Eating supra-physiological amounts of some substances can be life-threatening, others only result in very expensive pee. Know which is which.

Mostly I want to get my "supplements" from whole foods. But if embrace a view of our body as something that needs supplements, then I think it is prudent to consider having testing done to support it. As I see it the supplement discussion is very broad:

a. Supplements to cover certain provable deficiencies: minerals and vitamins: Iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D etc.

b. Performance enhancing supplements: ie. Creatine

c. Supplements for health, longevity, brainfunction, well-being etc. More difficult to asses on the basis on blood work.

Also it might be considered a sliding scale: food ----- supplement ---- medicine

just some food for further discussion.

regards,

Frederik

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@Tris...this is why I couldn't be vegan...I could be wrong but seems harder to be complete without using supplements and food products (protien powders and other refined products). At the moment I'm pretty close to eating just things in natural forms. I understand the ethical moral arguments. My wife was a vegan when I met her.

Yeah it's certainly not the easy path, on many levels (especially social, I find). There are a few obvious vitamin/mineral holes and I also wonder about DHA. I can observe it's not ideal nutritionally, and not particularly natural (Paul Chek makes a great point that even plants are very carnivorous). But I am so gentle and sensitive that the peace of mind it gives me is greater than the challenges it brings, so it's a sacrifice I am happy to make. I don't mind what other people eat, it's just a preference I've chosen - and it may not be forever (I'm still pretty young). All is well so far, and I'll cross any bridges when they come.

Usually discussions veganism gets sidetracked, at some point Nazis will be mentioned: https://en.wikipedia...odwin's_law

Mostly I want to get my "supplements" from whole foods.

LOL! I had no idea Godwin's law was a "thing", but it's so so true.

Agree about whole foods. The role of supplements is right there in the word "supplement", you have to ask: What are you supplementing?

Your models for organising the supplement discussion are awesome. May be hard to draw the lines between food | supplement | medicine though. For instance, the FDA has a ridiculously generic definition of what constitutes a "drug".

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I have a blood assay done annually; the only thing I use Medicare for. I get tested for the works (vitamins, minerals; testosterone, fasting fats/glucose, liver enzyme function, etc., etc.

No supplements, at all.

All blood chemistry fine. Yesterday, my doctor marvelled at the HDLs: "how did you do that?" My answer? High fat diet (~30 of calories, or more) and the right kinds of fat: nuts, avocados, olive oil, and saturated fats from animal protein sources.

I have some technical articles on nutrition on my site; go to Articles section. There is a download "Sensible Eating" from a book I wrote once, too.

All the food I eat can be recognised as once living creatures. No exceptions. A butcher I used ot know had a sign out the front of his store:

"Vegetarians are just people who hate plants"

Personally, I love them, but I eat lots of them too, with reverence.

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A butcher I used ot know had a sign out the front of his store:

"Vegetarians are just people who hate plants"

Personally, I love them, but I eat lots of them too, with reverence.

Lol...this is precisely the argument I used to convince my wife to give up veganism.

All living things are "alive" and have a life force! Killing or mistreating (these are not equivient things...we must kill to live...we do not need to mistreat) a carrot is in many ways no different then killing or mistreating a goat...except that our existence is closer to that of a goat...and therefore we can more closely empathize.

That and I showed her how awesome fresh wild sockeye salmon indian candy is ;)

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I have a blood assay done annually; the only thing I use Medicare for. I get tested for the works (vitamins, minerals; testosterone, fasting fats/glucose, liver enzyme function, etc., etc.

What's the process for getting it done? Is it arranged through a GP?

All living things are "alive" and have a life force! a carrot is in many ways no different then killing or mistreating a goat...except that our existence is closer to that of a goat...and therefore we can more closely empathize.

I see the two things very differently. For me, it's not about avoiding death but avoiding pain. The difference I see is that the lifeforce of a goat is affected strongly by the presence of a nervous system; the body system that creates the awareness and experience of pain. This appears to be a trait shared by animals that move, perhaps as an evolutionary survival mechanism to encourage them to physically move away from threats to their survival. Whereas vegetation (growing carrots) cannot move away from a threat, so have no evolutionary need to develop a sympathetic repulsion to physical threat, and therefore don't have the nervous system to consciously experience pain the way a goat would.

Perhaps the make-up of self-awareness and sympathetic response is not so black and white. Maybe carrots do feel pain. I don't really know. But I definitely empathise with goats more closely, as you say.

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I have a blood assay done annually; the only thing I use Medicare for. I get tested for the works (vitamins, minerals; testosterone, fasting fats/glucose, liver enzyme function, etc., etc.

Is this something one can just ask one's GP for? just call in and say "Hi, I want a blood test for everything?" Or do you typically need to go and specify each and every thing you want tested?

Also, on the topic: I've gone from not taking supplements, to taking protein and glucose, then increasing to trying to carefully time it around workouts, and vitamins and stuff.. Then I ended up cutting it all, even the protein. I'm not sure whether I've noticed a huge difference, but then I might not just be working hard enough to warrant them.

However, the past couple of weeks I did resume taking Vitamin D and magnesium, and it seems to be helping me sleep better. Still, it's always hard to tell, there are so many variables that I can't tell which thing is specifically helping.

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Be careful with the fish oil supplements, I read that most of them arrive to the store already oxydized and they can be toxic, there are a lot of articles about this matter.

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@ Everybody - this has turned into a great and informative thread! I love these forums! :)

I also favour using food over supplements; though I am not opposed to pragmatically experimenting with them for short periods as part of 'protocols'. The key is to track whether it is actual working (or get the vitamin/mineral screening bloodwork).. I am quite partial to using a few choice 'erbs, and that is an area of researchI look into..in some part because you can grow them yourself.

For me it is no surprise that Kitchen Ninja (Kit) has optimal blood work, as he is a truly awesome cook (Chef..? ;) ) and gets a massive dose of high quality ('A' grade, in fact) movement to digest.

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I see the two things very differently. For me, it's not about avoiding death but avoiding pain. The difference I see is that the lifeforce of a goat is affected strongly by the presence of a nervous system; the body system that creates the awareness and experience of pain. This appears to be a trait shared by animals that move, perhaps as an evolutionary survival mechanism to encourage them to physically move away from threats to their survival. Whereas vegetation (growing carrots) cannot move away from a threat, so have no evolutionary need to develop a sympathetic repulsion to physical threat, and therefore don't have the nervous system to consciously experience pain the way a goat would.

Perhaps the make-up of self-awareness and sympathetic response is not so black and white. Maybe carrots do feel pain. I don't really know. But I definitely empathise with goats more closely, as you say.

Trees take physical action to protect themselves also, it's just typically far slower than our action. They also have a complex communication system, the only difference being that ours is mostly electrical (nervous system), where as theirs is mostly chemical. This is a fascinating subject for me, and I think the speed at which something acts is heavily related to the length of time things live for. I am also interested in the movement of rocks and minerals, I have spoken to some people with profound knowledge in this field and its amazing how well organized the system of minerals is out in the wilderness. Mineral "veins" lead to particular areas guaranteeing certain minerals. These all seem like similar processes occurring, just another order of magnitude slower than trees, which are an order of magnitude slower than us. Actually when it comes down to it, plants best us at life. We are reasonably arrogant in thinking that our particular arrangement of life is the superior one, when they dominate the planet.

Some interesting reading: http://www.fu-berlin.de/en/presse/informationen/wissenschaft/2011/201102/201102_intelligente_kiefer.html

and http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/12/23/131223fa_fact_pollan?currentPage=all

"plants have evolved between fifteen and twenty distinct senses, including analogues of our five: smell and taste (they sense and respond to chemicals in the air or on their bodies); sight (they react differently to various wavelengths of light as well as to shadow); touch (a vine or a root “knows” when it encounters a solid object); and, it has been discovered, sound. In a recent experiment, Heidi Appel, a chemical ecologist at the University of Missouri, found that, when she played a recording of a caterpillar chomping a leaf for a plant that hadn’t been touched, the sound primed the plant’s genetic machinery to produce defense chemicals. Another experiment, done in Mancuso’s lab and not yet published, found that plant roots would seek out a buried pipe through which water was flowing even if the exterior of the pipe was dry, which suggested that plants somehow “hear” the sound of flowing water."

Plant intelligence aside, its absolutely impossible to ignore the fact that death and suffering is a requirement of life, regardless of which foods you choose to eat. The plant food that supports humanity requires insane destruction of life and habitats, resulting in the death and sometimes extinction of countless animal life (not to mention existing plant life). There are two possible solutions as far as I'm concerned. The first is the out of sight out of mind solution that most of the population choose to take ("I didn't directly cause it, and even though I'm indirectly responsible, I choose to ignore it because I didn't have to witness it myself"). The second is the realization that it's impossible to avoid causing suffering if life is to continue, so instead to choose to be an involved and active part of the cycle. This means practising empathy for those involved in the cycle, from the life that has to perish to support others, to those doing the life taking. Understanding and being grateful for the sacrifice necessary to support life, and also contemplating the fact that at one point you too will be a sacrifice as well, either by being buried and consumed by the life in the ground, or by being burnt and consumed as minerals by the life in the air. Of course, everyone is going to have different preference as to which parts of life they consume, whether it be taste preferences or stronger empathetic connections with particular life (some meat eaters won't eat dogs or cats for example, but it's basically cultural baggage, no different to us eating a goat that in some countries are identified with as strongly as dogs, some people won't eat meat at all but will happily kill a fly that is annoying them, some people go to great extremes to avoid hurting any animal life going so far as to sweep the paths in front of them as they walk so as to avoid stepping on insects). That part is reasonably irrelevant if you ask me, its more about intention.

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Haha I've kind of derailed this thread a bit with this comment, but I just found another interesting tidbit from the same article:

In support of their contention that plants are conscious of their environment, Mancuso and Baluška point out that plants can be rendered unconscious by the same anesthetics that put animals out: drugs can induce in plants an unresponsive state resembling sleep. (A snoozing Venus flytrap won’t notice an insect crossing its threshold.) What’s more, when plants are injured or stressed, they produce a chemical—ethylene—that works as an anesthetic on animals. When I learned this startling fact from Baluška in Vancouver, I asked him, gingerly, if he meant to suggest that plants could feel pain. Baluška, who has a gruff mien and a large bullet-shaped head, raised one eyebrow and shot me a look that I took to mean he deemed my question impertinent or absurd. But apparently not.

“If plants are conscious, then, yes, they should feel pain,” he said. “If you don’t feel pain, you ignore danger and you don’t survive. Pain is adaptive.” I must have shown some alarm. “That’s a scary idea,” he acknowledged with a shrug. “We live in a world where we must eat other organisms.”

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@Craig: Derailment is the name of the game.

About plants and intelligence, here is a recent interview with Stephen Harrod Buhner:

Some further derailment:

If we take these line of reasoning further:

a) We are a sort of machine that needs to be corrected with supplements

B) That we abhor the need to kill sentient beings (living things).

The most obvious solution would be to endorse then growing of food substances in a petri dish. In my mind it is the same sort of perverted thinking that has us uploading our consciousness into some sort of electronic device, so that we may live forever in a binary state in some server farm in space. And still, if cells are living in a petri dish then we are still at square 1,unless we can genetically engineer out the feeling and pain part, that is. Or perhaps "they" will come up with some sort of "abiotic" sludge with sugars, amino acids and minerals synthesized out of nothing? Rant over.

More on-topic:

My point being that while tweaking our health is a good thing, it also fosters some neurotic thinking and ideas which gives us unhelpful notions about our bodies.

@Dave - what herbs are we talking about?

It seems sensible to me to focus on things that makes sense regardless of whether they "actually" have a supplemental effect. Having diversity and variation in the diet. Focusing on getting some seafood regularly. Learning some local plants and foraging. Sourcing the food from places and people that you know. Herbs would also make for more interesting meals.

cheers,

Frederik

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@ Frederik: In the past; ginseng (different types); licorice; various ayuvedic herbs; keeping an eye on the research into protection from neuro-degeneration ascribed as a potentiality in some herbs (i.e bacopa monnieri). Culinary herbs and spices.. Not taking anything particular at the moment (other than culinary and coffee herbs (and coffee, if you consider that a medicinal bean..which I do)). I had a book by Stephen Harrold Buhner.. think I gave it to someone..

I am actually quite interested in various Daoist/qi gong style protocols involving the consumption of various herbs concurrently with doing various practices.. too many variables, perhaps, to get too analytic about - but more that I just want to experience what is happening in my own body during this process. I would most likely research all the 'erbs imbibed before beginning such an ordeal (and don't have the time-energy to undertake currently).

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@ Dave. Any references for this you can highlight? Some sort of systematic guide would helpful.

Also since you say "protocol", there is also another notion about supplements which we have not touched on yet, and that is cycles. Some substances might be helpful if taken for a period of times, but then it is probably time to back of - do something else - wait - come back and repeat. Linear and cyclic thinking.

regards,

Frederik

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@ Frederik - References for the protocols or general 'erbs? Yes; I am very interested in the cyclical use of these things for certain periods - then returning to 'just food'.

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@ Dave - both,

of course protocols would be of interest first,

however it would also be great to have a resource to expand on eventually. Obviously many people have put in effort and consideration into this subject before so while primary research is good it would be foolish not see what already has been done.

regards,

Frederik

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