Lessons learned from the Low-carb Cruise

I just returned from Jimmy Moore’s Low-carb Cruise, a 7-day excursion to Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island, and Cozumel aboard the Carnival Magic. During our 7 wonderful days, a number of authors and experts spoke, each offering their unique perspective on the low-carb world. The focus was the science, experience, and practical application of low-carbohydrate diets.

The event kicked off with a roast by Tom Naughton of Fat Head fame, who entertained with his insightful low-carb humor and predictions of my demise at the hands of Monsanto!

Among the most important lessons provided:

Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt of the Diet Doctor blog discussed how Sweden is leading the world as the nation with the most vigorous low-carbohydrate following, witnessing incredible weight loss and reversal of carbohydrate-related diseases way ahead of the U.S. experience. I spent several hours with Dr. Eenfeldt who, besides being an engaging speaker, is a new father and an all-around gentleman. At 6 ft, 7 inches, he also towered high above all of us.

Dr. Eric Westman of Duke University and author of The New Atkins for a New You debunked low-carbohydrate myths, such as “low-carb diets are high-protein diets that make your kidneys explode.”

Dr. John Briffa, creator of the popular blog, Dr. John Briffa: A Good Look at Good Health, and author of the wonderfully straightforward primer to low-carbohydrate eating, Escape the Diet Trap, stressed the importance of never allowing hunger to rule behavior. Dr. Briffa’s serious writing tone conceals an incredible charm and wit that took me by surprise, having spent several thoroughly engaging hours over breakfast, lunch, and dinner with him over the week.

Fred Hahn, exercise expert, founder of Serious Strength and author of Slow Burn Fitness Revolution and Strong Kids, Healthy Kids, debunked a number of trendy exercise methods, boiling many of the purported benefits of exercise down to that of increased strength.

Dr. Chris Masterjohn of The Daily Lipid and supporter of the Weston A. Price Foundation program, provided a comprehensive overview of the data that fails to link saturated fat with heart disease. He also helped me understand the analytical techniques used in studies of advanced glycation end-products.

Denise Minger, brilliant young usurper of China Study dogma and blogger at Raw Foods SOS, proved an engaging speaker and a truly real person (since some critics of her analyses have actually questioned whether there was even such a person!). She also proved every bit as likable as she seems in her captivating blog discussions.

Dr. Jeff Volek, prolific researcher from University of Connecticut, author of over 200 studies validating low-carbohydrate diet effects, and author of the recently released book with Dr. Stephen Phinney, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, debunked myths behind carbohydrate dependence and “loading” by athletes. He also talked about how assessing blood ketones may be the gold standard method to ensure low-grade ketosis on a long-term low-carb effort.

Over a bottle of wine, Jimmy Moore and I reminisced over how his modest start with no experience in blogging or media has now ballooned to an audience of over 100,000 readers/viewers.

All in all, Jimmy’s Low-carb Cruise experience was worth every minute, with many wonderful lessons and memories!

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Birgit

    Great blog! Thanks so much for the report! I was familiar with a couple of the people but this gives me a couple of new, great resources to check out.:)
    It’s so encouraging to see how the low-carb people work together across all different disciplines and how this speeds up spreading the word. I can’t even imagine how many lives are saved as a result.


  2. Kaylana

    A ‘roast’! Haha! We’d all love to see Monsanto ‘toasted’!
    Glad you had a wonderful trip!

  3. Sol y Sombra

    Great report, Dr. D! But I hope some or all of these lectures might be available on You Tube soon, because everything you wrote sounded so interesting and appetizing :) Do you think we may be able to see them online in the near future?

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, Sol–

      Yes, Jimmy has all presentations on video. I believe it was announced they would all be in sometime in June. I will provide links when I get them.

  4. Bill,
    It was so great meeting you and hanging out with you and Dawn! I enjoyed your talk thoroughly and was hanging on every word. I’m ashamed to admit after 7 years of low carbing I’m still using low carb wraps and bread for an occasional sandwich or burger but have been inspired to ditch them all from my lifestyle now. Yay for inspiration! I always get something from the cruise and talks. I’ve also started having “bulletproof coffee” in my usual l/c friendly restaurants to the odd looks of waitstaff ;) Hope you check out my blog when you get a chance. I know you must be insanely busy with your work. It was so nice meeting you and I hope to see you on the cruise again!

    Best in health,
    Laurie “Avalanche” Rosen

    • Dr. Davis

      Hey, Laurie!

      Yes, ditch all things wheat and you have superpowered your low-carb effort!

      I will indeed poke around your blog!

  5. Joan Mercantini

    Great blog Doctor Davis. You along with Jeff Volek and so many others are educating so many.
    Joan Mercantini

  6. cori kettler

    I just finished your book…thank you!!
    What I really want to know is what happened to Dr Kruse?
    See you next year…
    Warmest regards,

  7. Susannah

    noticed the civilized discussion over wine. how much wine is too much wine? rather drink a couple of glasses for 10g net carb than have a piece of bread but it is a carb.. just wondering where you stand on it Doc? I work in a wine bar and am low carb, or am I?

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, you can be happily low-carb and a wine drinker.

      Try to limit to 2 four ounce glasses per night. If you are trying to lose weight, however, you may want to not drink at all during your weight loss effort.

  8. David S

    Sounds like a good time Dr. Davis! By the way, just wanted to let you know that I was pleasantly surprised this morning at my yearly appointment at the cardiologists office to find a write-up about your book by one of the 45 cardiologists on staff at the practice (one of the largest in the midwest). The write-up was published in their quaterly newsletter. If you’d like for me to scan and email you a copy, I’d be glad to do so or I could drop it in the mail to you if that would be better. You should have my email address above, feel free to drop me a note and I’ll get it on the way.

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s interesting, David!

      Would you mind mailing it to me?

      Address: 2600 N. Mayfair Rd, Suite 950, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 53226.


  9. Firebird7478

    As a weightlifter with 35 years experience, I confidently disagree with Fred Hahn. Super slow is not the way to go. Taking an exercise like a standing shoulder press, reducing it to a machine that mimics the exercise by making it safer while taking away the many core benefits of the exercise, then slowing the movement down to an insanely slow pace to make the movement difficult again makes absolutely no sense to me.

    I’d rather do deadlifts (400 lbs) or kettlebell swings (88 lbs.) with some meaningful weight that work the entire body than do those same exercises with a fraction of my working weight using a rep scheme that takes 30 seconds to perform one repetition.

    I just do not see the challenge in that.

  10. Gene K

    (copying my comment from the tarckyourpalque post)
    It is unfortunate that Dr Jack Kruse had to miss the cruise due to a twitter incident, but he published his intended keynote in his blog (http://jackkruse.com/ct-12-getting-back-on-board-with-my-message/). It would be extremely interesting to see Dr Kruse’s program adopted by the broad low-carb community and especially in the TYP program.
    Dr Davis, would you recommend Dr Kruse’s Leptin Rx and cold adaptation program to your patients? Was it in any way discussed on the cruise in the absence of Dr Kruse?

    • Dr. Davis

      HI, Gene–

      I’ve seen Dr. Kruse’s protocol, but am uncertain about how it fits into these concepts.

      And, no, we did not discuss his ideas in his absence. It was a darned shame he got hijacked.

  11. Janet

    I used to be addicted to political podcasts, now I am addicted to Jimmy Moore’s podcasts. I always have one on as I have a couple years to catch up on. My husband is absorbing some of the message by just hanging around and has now switched from 1% to 2% milk, has little wheat at home and has announced he will be giving up soda pop. He is pleased at my success and I feel I will have no problem soon getting all the wheat out of his life as well and I hardly have to say a word myself and become preachy. Plus he loves my new cooking. I talked to my sister this weekend–fibromyalgia and other ills–high blood pressure, overweight and she was very interested. I told her just to eliminate wheat to start. I couldn’t change any minds on politics, I feel pessimistic I can change anyone on health and wheat elimination. Sigh.

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s okay, Janet: Do it yourself and set the example.

      The others will follow you when they witness your wonderful health and slender build!

  12. deb b

    I would LOVE to attend the LC cruise – but have a serious motion issue/problem. Would love to hear anecdotal reports of how cruisers with this issue fare on the Carnival Magic.

    • Dr. Davis

      I, too, was terrified on my first cruise. (This was my second.) I was impressed that there is really very little rocking, these darned ships are so gargantuan. I get car sick sitting in the back and sitting in buses, but had next to nothing on the cruise.

      I did see many people wearing the sea sickness patches behind their ears, however.

      • kris

        There are seasickness wristbands you can buy (at walgreens, on board the ships, etc.), that just put pressure on a specific pressure point on your wrist. No medication whatsoever. I get motion sickness and have been on many cruises and they work 100%!!

  13. Louis White

    Did Jimmy Moore happen to mention why the LC seems to not be working for him? It makes me worry that he appears to be well on his way to gaining back all the weight that he lost years ago. He admitted that he was about 303lbs in one of his most recent posts from April 2012. We all hope he can get his health sorted out so that we can all continue to listen to his show for many years to come! All the best

  14. Just wanted to stop in and thank you for your work. I am glad I read your book and tried this way of eating, but after seven months without weight loss and the excruciating gallbladder attack I had two weeks ago I think I will move on to eating a low-fat diet.

  15. Caroline Tobin

    I didn’t really get to talk to you on the cruise, although I did get to sit next to you on the boat to the stingrays :)

    I just wanted to let you know that your talk made a great impression on my husband (on me too, but I’d read the book, so it was not new to me the way it was to him.)

    We are recommitting to wheat-free low-carb now that we’re back home, and especially to getting our 5 year old off wheat as well. (Our younger 2 are already wheat free thanks to multiple food allergies.) We’ve already explained to him that wheat is not good for anybody, which he repeats, even though he still loves to eat bread, crackers, etc. whenever he gets the opportunity. At least at home, though, he will no longer have the opportunity.

    Thank you for all you do, and keep a watch out for the Monsanto assassins lurking in your bushes.

    • Dr. Davis

      Thanks, Caroline! So that was you with the stingrays!

      It’s great that you are starting the kids out early. They won’t be perfect, but at least they will become familiar with what all this means. They will be far better off in the long run.

    • Dr. Davis

      But I don’t believe Jimmy is doing anything more than respecting his privacy.

      After Jack Kruse was hijacked by some wacko on Twitter.

      • Lea

        I think it’s unfortunate that you’re perpetuating the idea that Dr. Kruse was “hijacked by some wacko on Twitter.” I believe it’s fairly well understood at this point that the offending Tweet (meant as a joke, albeit an ill-timed one) originated from a parody Twitter account that Jimmy Moore himself followed. Dr. Kruse was no doubt aware of the account, as Jimmy and others had called his attention to it on Twitter. I would estimate that 90% of the posts from that account were direct quotes from Kruse himself. The text of the Tweet in question was, “security confiscated dynamite. talk won’t be as explosive as one at PaleoFx. still have vial of Legionnaires for epic biohack. #lccruise12.” The Tweet references Dr. Kruse’s use of dynamite as a prop during his keynote address at PaleoFX and his bizarre claim that he injected himself with MRSA prior to elective surgery. The term “epic biohack” has been used by Dr. Kruse himself to refer to his self-experimentation and is not, as some have suggested, synonymous with “bioterrorist attack.” I’m unclear how Homeland Security or the FBI interpreted such a Tweet as a serious threat. What I do know, however, is that Dr. Kruse’s behavior in the wake of “Kruse-gate” was offensive to many members of the paleo community. Without evidence, he accused some of his most vocal critics of starting the account and of calling Carnival and alerting them of a “threat.” He repeatedly stated that the FBI was hot on their trail and that the “perpetrators” would spend years in prison. Was any of this true? Apparently not, as the putative “perpetrators” have reported that the FBI has never contacted them. At first, it seemed that Dr. Kruse was going to exploit this cruise situation for publicity. In the end, however, he discredited himself and provoked the ire of multiple paleo luminaries, including Robb Wolf.