The Wild Diet: Go Beyond Paleo to Burn Fat, Beat Cravings, and Drop 20 Pounds in 40 days

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9781101982860: The Wild Diet: Go Beyond Paleo to Burn Fat, Beat Cravings, and Drop 20 Pounds in 40 days

Abel James, the ABC star and creator of the #1 Fat-Burning Man Show, shares his revolutionary weight-loss program in The Wild Diet - now a New York Times Bestseller!

Can you really lose 20 pounds in 40 days while enjoying real butter, juicy burgers, chicken parmesan, chocolate, and even cheesecake?

The answer might surprise you.

By focusing on simple, fresh ingredients and nutrient-dense meals, The Wild Diet programs your body to burn fat as its main fuel source. Eating Wild, thousands of people across the world have dropped 20, 60, or even more than 100+ pounds without hunger... and often with minimal exercise.

In The Wild Diet, you’ll find that we are not meant to starve ourselves, count calories, or avoid delicious food. We’re wired to eat luxuriously and live well without getting fat.

If you think that you’re stuck with the genes you inherited and there’s nothing you can do about it, read closely. The Wild Diet paints a different picture, one in which we have the power to influence our genetic expression by taking control of the quality of food we eat, the way we move, and the environment around us.

We once had access to an immense variety of fresh seasonal foods from small, local sources. Now we have access to few varieties of processed foods from a massive industrial system often thousands of miles from where we live. The secret to great health simply getting back to our wild roots and enjoying real, Wild foods grown on a farm and not in a factory.

By prioritizing foods found in the natural world, rich in fiber and nutrients, your body will burn fat instead of sugar for energy. When you reduce your consumption of processed grains, sugars and other simple carbohydrates in favor of healthy plants and animals, you will be shocked by how quickly you can reverse the damage of decades of poor eating.

The Wild Diet proves that it’s possible to get in best shape of your life while eating delicious foods like chicken parmesan, bacon cheeseburgers, and even chocolate pudding. If you want to know how to burn more fat by indulging in incredible meals and exercising less, it’s time to treat yourself to The Wild Diet.

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About the Author:

Abel James is a New York Times bestselling author and modern-day Renaissance man. He stars as a celebrity coach on ABC television and has been featured in People Magazine, WIRED, Entertainment Tonight, and NPR.  As host of the #1 podcast in 8+ countries, Fat-Burning Man, Abel has helped millions reclaim their health and perform at their best with cutting-edge science, outdoor workouts, and outrageously good food.

Abel has keynoted for the Federal Government, lectured at Ivy League universities, and advised Fortune 500 companies including Microsoft, Danaher, and Lockheed Martin. He was named as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness by Greatist in 2015 and 2016.

Distinguished as a Senior Fellow with Honors from Dartmouth College, Abel created his own curriculum to specialize in brain science, music, and technology. He later published his research in The Musical Brain, which became a #1 Amazon bestseller.

Also a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Abel has won several awards in writing and performance arts, including “Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting.”

Abel lives with his wife in Austin, Texas. He enjoys strong coffee and cheesecake, preferably together.

Read more from Abel at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:


Earlier this year, my wife, Alyson, and I dined at a farm-to-table restaurant in Florida with twenty leaders in the health movement, a motley crew of bestselling authors, nutritionists, Olympians, cooks, and physicians. After a long week, we were ready for a feast.

Our waiter scribbled furiously as Alyson, my cute-as-a-button, 105-pound wife, and I ordered:

   · Bacon deviled eggs
   · Two roasted marrow bones with local herbs and spices
   · Two hearty farm-fresh salads with aged meat, nuts, and avocado
   · Charcuterie board with a trio of duck, lamb, and pork pâtés; raw artisanal cheese; and a side of homemade sauerkraut
   · Sautéed sweetbreads
   · Wild sea bass with mushroom butter sauce
   · Grass-fed sirloin steak (medium-rare, of course) with heirloom vegetables

As others watched in awe, we polished off the lot, including more than our fair share of wine and champagne. One of the health experts said with a gasp, “How on earth do you two eat so much and stay so lean?”

This book is the answer to that question.

I hope you enjoy it.

In health and happiness,
Abel James Bascom
August 23, 2014


As we hop aboard Tim McGraw’s tour bus idling outside a Quality Inn in Austin, Texas, I suddenly realize that being healthy is cool again.

Instead of smoking ashtrays, passed-out groupies, and stale beer, the smell of strong coffee wafts through the country superstar’s Zen-like tour bus. A veritable cornucopia of fresh produce, organic seaweed snacks, and an imposing 5-pound sack of Brazil nuts fill the mini-kitchen. Despite filming the Today show in New York City twenty-four hours earlier, these road warriors are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Denny, enjoying an unprecedented twenty-year reign as Tim’s guitarist and musical director, introduces us to the rest of the band.

Fresh off his feature on the cover of Men’s Health after losing 40 pounds, forty-seven-year-old Tim McGraw is a specimen of health. He credits his pumped-up biceps and six-pack abs to his band’s new routine of clean eating and intense outdoor workouts on the road. His tour bus even pulls a trailer dedicated to unconventional exercise gear—hauling heavy chains, sledgehammers, and sandbags across the country.

“Whoa, the Fat-Burning Man. . . . It’s so surreal you’re here!” Deano, the fiddle player, muses, somehow expressing precisely how I feel at that moment. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but more people seem to know me as “Fat-Burning Man,” the tongue-in-cheek title of my hit health show, than as the road-weary musician I’ve been for most of my life. I’d taken time away from music to focus on inspiring others to live better by eating real food and breaking a good sweat. As far as I was concerned, I was just a regular guy babbling into a microphone on my computer and doing my best to make my show valuable to whoever happened to be tuning in. It wasn’t until I received my favorite thank-you note ever from a musician named Denny that I realized people were actually listening. Better yet, these newfound health nuts were actually getting results that blew my mind.

A loyal listener of Fat-Burning Man, Denny has been following the Wild Diet for more than a year. Enjoying hearty meals that include plenty of butter, bacon, and eggs, he’s dropped 46 pounds. Impressed by Denny’s transformation, several bandmates came along for the ride.

“Billy, our keyboard player, only decided to try the Wild Diet because he’s allowed to eat coffee cake.” Denny grins. “It really isn’t that complicated—you just listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry. It’s great. I’m full of energy and feel fifteen years younger.”

“My kids love eating this way,” adds Deano. “They’re totally into organ meats and headcheese. Their friends think eating brains is cool.”

After Deano convinces us to taste his latest culinary fascination, emu oil (it’s not bad, actually), we take Denny back to our place to play a few tunes. On the way, we grab two cups of fresh-roasted “fatty coffee” with butterfat and pure cocoa, our first “meal” of the day. To fuel an epic jam session, we polish off a few pints of green smoothie, sample asparagus and bacon quiche, and indulge in homemade blueberry muffins, pumpkin scones, and Alyson’s newest cheesecake recipe (Peanut Butter Chocolate “Cheesecake” with Hazelnut Crust) —try it yourself with our afternoon tea. A few hours later, our luxurious dinner includes bacon-wrapped sea scallops, wild Atlantic salmon, creamed spinach with toasted prosciutto, and a wee bit of wine. This ain’t no ordinary diet.

Sound incredible? Well, the truth is that I haven’t always had the body of an underwear model while feasting like a rock star. Before people knew me as my fat-burning alter ego whose abs are plastered all over the Internet, I was the chubby kid with chipmunk cheeks.

I’ve always loved food. As a toddler in the eighties, I discovered that the spiral cord on our kitchen phone didn’t quite reach the candy cupboard. So every time the phone rang, I sprinted to the candy and drooled like Pavlov’s dog. As soon as Mom picked up the phone, now safely out of reach, I’d stuff my face with as much chocolate, candy, and cookies as humanly possible.

One night, still dressed in my suspenders and bow tie after playing clarinet at the local diner for pocket money, my dad took me aside for an important talk.

“Abel, your body is about to go through some changes,” he explained with a gentle smile. “With our genes, you can grow up to be overweight . . . or strong and athletic. It all depends on how you eat and exercise in the next few years as you grow into a teenager.”

An athletic strapping stonemason for most of his life, Dad had packed on nearly 30 pounds after he was forced into a desk job when the economy tanked. I listened closely and took heed. I didn’t want to be overweight, and for the first time in my life I realized I had a choice. And then I was off.

I learned in one of Dad’s magazines that “fat makes you fat and clogs your arteries.” So I declared that I would switch to fat-free milk, shun red meat, and I even started to carry around extra napkins to sponge the grease off pizza in order to avoid excess cholesterol. I was eight years old.

I took up every sport I could. A little too excited after watching Rocky for the first time, I choked down a full glass of raw eggs before my morning workout and chased chickens around the backyard. I cranked the brittle gears of my yard-sale Huffy to the summit of the legendary Piper Hill and trained like a Ninja Turtle to get my purple belt in karate. By seventh grade, my baby fat and chipmunk cheeks grew into a chiseled frame with a strong jaw to match. The girls even started calling me “Mr. Buff,” my first stupid nickname.

I’d done it—the chubby kid who played clarinet at Christmas parties had transformed into a handsome, athletic teen. But getting fat doesn’t happen all at once. Sometimes it sneaks up on you.

After speeding through Dartmouth College, studying brain science, music, and technology, it was time to pay off a few nasty student loans and chase the American Dream. Turning down offers from Wall Street and the CIA, I took a job as a strategy consultant for Fortune 500s in Washington, D.C., moonlighting as a computer programmer. I quickly learned that spending nearly all of my waking hours under fluorescent lights takes its toll. But there was work to be done, loans to be paid, and no time for hikes in the woods.

My fancy new office had a “Healthy Snacks” program to help us get through the long hours consulting with the bigwigs. I was pleased to find that many of the snacks lined up perfectly with the fat-free, low-calorie diet praised by the media and health magazines. I nibbled on fat-free whole-grain crackers, nonfat yogurt, and zero-calorie Jell-O, and I sipped cholesterol-free soy milk; cloudy, experimental diet soda; and other oddities provided by our Fortune 500 clients in the food and beverage industry.

When I sat down with my new physician for my first checkup as an adult, he avoided eye contact at first, shuffling papers on his desk. His brow suddenly furrowed as he looked up at me with a wide-eyed grin.

“You have great insurance!” he blurted.

From that point on, I peed in a cup and had my blood drawn every time I set foot in the doctor’s office, which was often. My results didn’t look good. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, thyroid problems, insomnia, and many other disorders and diseases of civilization that we’re somehow conditioned to “expect” as our youth evades us.

“You have the body of a middle-aged man,” the doctor admitted grimly. “With your blood pressure and family history, you might be looking at heart disease, thyroid disorder, and even diabetes if you don’t cut out dietary fat and do more cardio starting right now.”

Doc put me on a new painkiller for a running injury, a prescription-strength antiperspirant, several sleep meds, and even an antidepressant that he promised would “help me sleep.”

Gritting my teeth, I followed the doc’s advice. I popped the pills, counted every last calorie, grew accustomed to constant hunger, nibbled on low-fat food that tasted like cardboard, and jogged five times a week.

I proudly became a vegetarian, swapped real butter for zero-cholesterol vegetable oil spread, and replaced farm-fresh eggs with 100% whole wheat bagels with nonfat cream cheese and zero-calorie jam from the supermarket. Without fresh veggies from our family’s garden, I stocked up on bananas, 100% orange juice (with pulp, obviously), and reduced-sodium canned vegetable juice from the Safeway down the street.

But every time I went to see my doctor, I was fatter and sicker than ever . . . and people started to notice. Subtlety was never my boss’s strong suit. One day, he just laid it right out there.

“Whoa, Abel, you’ve put on a few pounds! What happened to you? Too many sweets, eh?” Nope—I was dieting harder than ever.

I took a good, hard look in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw.

Instead of a strong, vital twenty-four-year-old, I had the flab of an unhealthy man twice my age. The impossibly low-fat diet recommended by doctors, diet books, magazines, and the media didn’t appear to be working. Fed up, I diverted my energy to healing myself. I scoured medical textbooks, underground bodybuilding manuals, and the nooks and crannies of the Internet to find the perfect protocol to drop my excess fat and regain my vitality.

I quickly discovered that everything I thought I knew about diet was wrong.

When I started my new “diet,” I did the opposite of what most well-meaning nutritionists might tell you. I chowed down on the most delicious and rich foods of my life—real butter, scrambled eggs, fresh veggies, rich meats, coconut, aged cheese, steak, and chocolate. I flushed my pharmaceuticals and called my mom, an author and herbalist, once a week to reincorporate adaptogenic herbs, teas, and tonics back into my daily habits.


The mounting health problems that I’d been told were just part of getting older—high blood pressure, heartburn, low energy, thyroid issues, insomnia, dry skin, acne, kidney stones, the spare tire, and much more—quickly improved. My sugar cravings, nagging hunger, and mood swings gently faded with each passing week. I began to feel a glowing energy and clarity that reminded me of what it was like to be a young buck in his prime. My double chin quickly receded, and my belly fat followed close behind.

When I stepped on the scale, I was shocked. I had lost 20 pounds of flab in forty days. This fat loss revealed a muscular body and washboard abs that could be slapped right on the cover of a fitness magazine. More important, I had more energy and gusto than I’d felt in my entire life.

But as much as I enjoyed taking my new abs for a spin, I was angry. Why had I been trying so hard to stay on an expensive diet that was making me fat and sick for all those years? Everybody deserves to feel this way.

So I wrote a fat-loss manual and printed twenty copies at Kinko’s to send to friends and family. After ten weeks, my dad, cousins, friends, coworkers, and bandmates each dropped around 20 pounds. Even my dental hygienist eventually lost more than 60 pounds by going Wild, just through what I could mumble during my cleanings every six months.


After transforming my own body, I launched my health show, Fat-Burning Man, to educate and inspire others to be happy and healthy by optimizing their bodies with real food, a good sweat, and cutting-edge science and technology. I had a goal to change a million lives with real food and Wild movement, and word quickly spread. Within the first year, we hit that goal, and even beat out Jillian Michaels, head trainer on The Biggest Loser, for Apple’s number-one-rated podcast in health. Eventually, the series hit number one in more than eight countries around the world and won three awards in independent media, including Best Health and Fitness Podcast at the Podcast Awards.

If you like this book, you’ll enjoy the Fat-Burning Man show. I cover almost every subject in this book—from digestion to dead lifts—with detailed, topical interviews with top experts. You can listen in and watch the entire series for free at

In The Wild Diet, you’ll find that we are not meant to starve ourselves or count calories. We’re wired to eat and live well without getting fat. That’s what we’ve been doing effortlessly for thousands of years, in fact, before we started following the wrong advice.

If you think that you’re stuck with the genes you inherited and there’s nothing you can do about it, read closely. The Wild Diet paints a different picture, one in which we have the power to influence our genetic expression by taking control of the environment around us. As a testament to the healing power of fresh food and a good sweat, I’ve seen my family, friends, fans, and clients lose many hundreds of pounds, reverse degenerative disease, recover from cancer, extend their life-spans, and win Olympic gold medals using the principles you’re about to learn.

I made a conscious choice to write this book in layman’s terms with minimal cryptic scientific jargon. Rest assured—The Wild Diet is based on proven scientific principles and a growing body of peer-reviewed and independent research. But instead of hurling studies and their equal-and-opposite counterparts back and forth, this book gets straight to the point and shows you what works so you can look and feel better than you ever thought possible. If you’d like to do your own homework, please explore the notes section.

Fair warning: Much of what you read in this book may be “controversial” and stand in direct opposition to current conventional wisdom and popular beliefs. While th...

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