My Goals When I Started Stan Efferding's Vertical Diet
Stan Efferding's Vertical Diet fills both macro and micronutrient needs, which are otherwise left unmet by standard, traditional bodybuilding diet models.
I started Stan Efferding's vertical diet mid-2018.
These were my goals:
Main Goals During The Vertical Diet:
- Upregulate thyroid function as much as possible
- Monitored via regular waking and midday body temperature readings, blood work, hair shedding (I can tell when there is even a slight shift in regards to this), and overall energy levels.
- Enhanced cognitive function
- Avoiding intense blood sugar fluctuation induced mental comas and hitting micronutrient needs should take care of this, but this remains to be seen
- Optimize gut health
- Pretty easy to monitor how well my body is processing foods. I will be also looking at inflammation levels in lab work to see how I respond internally to these foods
- Hit all micronutrient needs
- Increase HDL cholesterol
- I have low HDL levels. I’ve had low levels for a couple years now actually, and I’ve just left it completely unaddressed. Adding in Citrus Bergamot and Cardio only helps so much when you’re on TRT and genetically predisposed to crap HDL levels. I’m hoping the diet can fix this. I will determine this by comparing mid-diet blood work to my baseline blood work.
- See how optimal sodium, potassium and water levels will impact body composition, performance and overall recovery.
- Sodium and Potassium are two parts of diet that I’ve never measured. I also never knew how misguided some of the information is on sodium. Much of it coming right from our own Government.
- I will be consuming 8 grams of sodium a day alongside my regular 1+ gallon of water I drink per day and monitoring changes closely
- Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure
- My resting heart rate is about 65-70 right now. I would be a lot happier if it was closer to the high 50’s. My blood pressure averages about 125/75, although sometimes it goes as high as 129/80 at rest. I want to try and bring this down, and am hoping that proper mineral/electrolyte balance, HITT cardio, and the other parts of the diet will help accomplish this.
It has almost been a year now, and the diet checked almost every single goal off on this list.
My Thyroid hormones returned to homeostasis, I'm mentally sharper, my metabolism is noticeably faster and my health markers look better than ever in my blood work.
My resting heart rate has come down to 60 beats per minute, and my blood pressure is down to 120/70.
If I really relax before taking my blood pressure and give myself 5-10 minutes to chill out, I can score as low as 115/65.
The only thing that I couldn't fix with the Vertical Diet was my HDL cholesterol.
It improved, but is still not in the reference range.
As far elaborate details on exactly how the foods in the vertical diet affected my blood work markers like inflammation levels, cholesterol levels, etc. you can go look at my Vertical Diet logs I've written, where I literally do a new round of blood work per every four weeks or so to show what little changes in the diet did to my blood work and my health markers.
The following is a general overview of my results, and a review of the diet itself.
Quality of Life and Energy Levels
My quality of life and energy levels went up fairly noticeably after starting the vertical diet.
When I started the vertical diet, one of the first things I did notice was that it was a lot easier to get out of bed in the morning, whereas before, I would probably hit snooze about 10 times.
On the vertical diet, I would just wake up to my alarm and then get out of bed.
It was a lot easier of a transition than it would have been otherwise on a standard micronutrient deficient diet.
I don't think people realize how much of a difference micronutrients fulfillment not only have on basic health markers and longevity, but as well as how you feel during the day.
It really makes a huge difference on your energy levels and how your diet translates into your everyday productivity, efficiency and ability to really make the most of each hour.
Granted, a lot of my weaknesses aren't just magically solved by the diet.
You're probably still going to be a procrastinator if you don't take steps to fix that.
But as far as blatantly noticing energy improvement, I was able to stay awake longer if I needed to.
I don't suggest staying up longer than 16-17 hours though as it goes against the principles of the diet in the first place, which is adequate rest and recovery.
Also, when you do get adequate rest and recovery, you wake up a lot easier than you would otherwise on the same amount of sleep.
That's one of the main things I realized.
All Diet Models Will Have Individually Dependent Results
As far as how the red meat affects your blood markers.
One thing I've realized is vertical diet is very individually dependent.
There are certain genetic mutations and alleles and things of that nature that will greatly affect if something like the vertical diet is going to be healthy or not for you.
In general, most people will succeed with the diet and improve health markers.
However, it's not a blanket statement of what will work or not work for you.
You'll have arguments between vegans and carnivore diet people about how meat is bad, meat is good, vegan diets are bad and vegan diets are good, etc.
For example, if you have a genetic propensity to destroyed lipids from foods like eggs, then eating eggs every day will negatively impact your lipids.
If you have Hashimotos Thyroiditis and you increase your Iodine intake too quickly you can severely aggravate your condition.
When it comes to lipid modulation and eggs, so many people will reference one study where it showed that eggs didn't have any negative effect on HDL, LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides.
This study was conducted on a cohort of individuals.
Regardless of what “experts” want to tell you, study results do not equate to an accurate blanket statement for every single person.
My LDL And Cholesterol Spiked From Eggs
If you go look at my vertical diet updates, you can blatantly see how detrimental of an impact just having four eggs a day had on my LDL and total cholesterol.
Within just a few weeks, the Vertical Diet had increased my total cholesterol and LDL by 50%.
That was what happened to me, meanwhile other individuals might be able to eat four eggs per day and see no difference in their blood work.
But for me in particular though, it totally destroyed my cholesterol levels and barely improved my HDL, which was the main thing I was hoping to get out of it.
This is mainly due to my TRT use.
If you're on TRT, you probably have low HDL too, or it is on the low end of the reference range.
Getting it into the high end of the reference range is a struggle and it's very rare for a guy on TRT to have exceptional HDL.
I was hoping for a big boost in HDL with no effect on LDL from this diet model.
But it just wasn't the case with the four eggs daily.
I checked whether taking out the eggs without altering my red meat consumption would resolve the LDL and total cholesterol spike because I didn't want to take out both at the same time and skew the results.
If my lipids corrected themselves, I would have no idea if it was the eggs or the red meat.
So, all I did after getting those terrible lipid results back was take out the eggs and kept my one pound of red meat in per day.
I was eating one pound of ground bison per day still and removing the eggs completely reversed the issue.
It was 100% a result of the eggs, and I still eat the red meat every single day with no issues on my lipid profile.
You can begin to see how this is individually dependent.
It's not a knock to the vertical diet though, it's just something you have to take into consideration because a lot of times you'll read blanket statements about food groups that aren't necessarily true for all individuals.
The Importance Of Genetic Testing
Obviously, eggs are not in my diet now.
Just because there's a study showing one thing is healthy for a certain subsection of the population, it doesn't mean it's applicable to you.
If you get genetic testing done you could find you have some like abnormal mutation where your body doesn't process Mercury correctly, or you're prone to high cholesterol, or a ton of other obscure health markers you would never even consider that could have a massive impact on your health.
And then at that point, all these things that are totally harmless to the general population could screw you up big time.
These are very minuscule details that aren't typically considered when people are trying to make blanket statements about if a diet model is healthy or not.
One thing I can say is that the vertical diet covers your bases in terms of making it very, very idiot proof to hit all your micronutrients and macronutrient needs, which is great.
But once you do hit all those needs, you have to do follow up extensive bloodwork (as well as genetic testing ideally) to see if there are certain foods in the diet that just aren't going to be compatible with your genetic profile.
More often than not, there are one or two things in your current diet that are going to screw you up if you don't know what you're looking at when it comes to your health markers.
If something works for somebody, it doesn't mean it's going to work for you.
Personally, everything else in the diet besides the eggs was very complementary to my needs and I had no issues with anything else other than that.
Stan Efferding's Vertical Diet Is Perfect For Anyone Looking To Gain Muscle And Stay Lean
I believe the vertical diet is best suited for those who are trying to gain muscle and stay leaner while gaining that muscle.
This is perfect for bodybuilders, strong men and powerlifters who have to slam tons of food and stay hungry while doing it.
If you bodybuild too, you'll attest to the fact that eventually you hit a sticking point in your bulk where you're either too fat and shouldn't keep bulking, or you hit a point where food is just so repulsive to you that you can't increase your caloric intake anymore without feeling like you're force-feeding yourself to keep growing.
Many will turn to junk food at this point to push past the plateau of constantly feeling full.
If you hit a point where you're literally forced to eat junk food to get your calories in your putting your health in jeapordy just to continue gaining weight.
A lot of people will say get your calories in no matter what and go eat McDonald's if you need to.
You would be much better suited doing something like the vertical diet where you can still have a completely optimized diet for health, longevity, blood markers, and organ health without having to compromise your quality of life just to hit a calorie allotment.
It keeps you very hungry and your metabolism will be as maxed out as it could possibly be from any diet model.
It's extremely well-suited for gaining lean muscle and strength, as well as revving up your metabolism.
Difficulty Of Dietary Adherence In A Calorie Deficit
The Vertical Diet is great for bulking and recomposition phases, but for people who are trying to stay lean year round, it is a difficult diet model to adhere to.
It isn't suboptimal, it is simply difficult to adhere to.
The Vertical Diet boosts your metabolism up so you stay hungry all day, which is great as nutrients are partitioned better, your insulin sensitivity stays on point and you're not consuming crappy foods.
You're using exactly what you need to meet your personal performance and recovery needs.
However, if you're in a calorie deficit, eating calorie-dense foods like eggs, red meat, almonds, full-fat greek yogurt, in addition to having shots of sugar from cranberry juice and oranges throughout the day to stimulate your metabolism can put you in a predicament where you are hungrier than ever, and are still eating minimally satiating foods.
If you're cutting, you can switch to whole oranges instead of orange juice and make a few other diet alterations to get a bit more fiber in to be more satiating, but you are a bit limited when it comes to getting really shredded on the vertical diet.
I found staying in a calorie deficit on the vertical diet pretty difficult personally.
At the start of the diet where you're still eating 3,000+ calories, it's not bad.
But once you start restricting yourself to less than 2700 calories, if you have a decent amount of muscle and you're following the vertical diet perfectly you'll likely find it quite difficult to stick and adhere to a perfect diet model without deviating and cheating on your diet.
This is because the diet is designed to keep you hungry all day long and to only consume low digestive stress foods.
The diet is designed to not bog down your digestive system on purpose, which is great.
But at the same time, there aren't enough food groups in there that you can use that will satiate you and hit all your macronutrient needs simultaneously.
I find myself finishing a meal and being hungry still.
I can't use my diet hacks for satiation either because they're not vertical diet-friendly.
Zero nutrient foods with artificial sweeteners and other things that I used to use solely for satiation purposes are not vertical diet-friendly because they're not necessarily healthy for you.
You have so much of your daily calorie allotment dedicated to hitting micronutrient needs that by the time you're done that (the horizontal portion of the diet) and you hit the vertical portion of the diet where you're eating your red meat and your rice in a steep deficit you could already be very close to your calorie limit.
At that point, your entire diet is basically comprised of random almonds, oranges, carrots, sweet potato, cranberry juice, chicken stock, whole-fat greek yogurt, eggs, etc.
Before you know it, you're at 2,000+ calories, and then you only have room for one red meat and rice meal, and you're just hungry all day long.
It's just not conducive to a steep deficit in my opinion.
Sure, you can swap certain things like red meat for chicken or fish, eggs for egg whites, and so on.
But then at that point, you're missing the horizontal portion of the diet where you're getting your micronutrient needs met, and then you're not really doing the vertical diet at all.
Do not misinterpret what I'm saying here though, there's nothing wrong with the vertical diet.
If you're trying to get shredded you've already personally accepted that you are going to be putting yourself in a state of micronutrient deficiency to some extent if you're trying to meet all of your dietary needs with whole foods.
There's simply not enough room to meet your macronutrient needs while simultaneously hitting all your micronutrient needs when you're in 1,000+ calorie deficit to get super shredded.
These are things to keep in mind if you're going to go on the vertical diet.
It becomes very difficult to fit everything in when you're on sub-2,500 calorie diet while doing cardio on top of that, which makes you even hungrier.
You'll probably be too hungry, even without the cardio at sub-2500 calories on this kind of diet model.
For those who are trying to gain lean, gain some muscle and lose some fat simultaneously in a recomposition, or just flat out really bulk up, the vertical diet is perfect.
For those in a steep deficit, the principles of the vertical diet should still be incorporated.
But, there are deviations from the diet you will have to make if you don't want to suffer to an extent that only the most elite of willpower could adhere to.
Once you hit all your micro needs with all of these non-satiating foods, you have very minimal room left for getting any significant amount of red meat or rice in.
What diet model is best for you all depends on your individual goals and needs.
Obviously depriving yourself year-round of certain nutrients isn't congruent to optimized health practices, so it is not a knock on the vertical diet at all, or any diet model for that matter when it comes to hitting your macro and micro needs simultaneously when you're intentionally restricting yourself of sufficient calories.
The Vertical Diet Hits All Your Micronutrient and Macronutrient Needs
I promise you that you're very likely deficient in something very important that you're not addressing, and I find the vertical diet is best for just idiot-proofing the whole process.
If you follow the horizontal portion to a T, you're covered.
And then with the vertical portion you're covered for muscle and strength gain.
The diet incorporates the most digestion-friendly choices of protein and carbs that you could be using for recovery, building muscle, building strength, and staying hungry to continue hitting your meal allotments.
I recommend anyone try it regardless if you're cutting or not, just so you can see what it's like.
Hitting your micronutrient needs can substantially change your quality of life.
You'd be surprised how your body responds once you hit all of these requirements that you didn't even know you're deficient in.
Your performance, your ability to get up and get going, and even things you didn't think were regulated by your diet like your mood are factors that are all optimized once you start putting the right fuel in your body and stop eating crap.
My Vertical Diet Review
I highly recommend you guys try it.
Your quality of life will likely go up, your energy levels will likely go up, your metabolism will speed up as you hit micronutrient needs that you didn't even know you were deficient in, and your body essentially becomes a fine tuned machine as you really get into it.
If you haven't or you've been on the fence about it, I'm going to include a link at the bottom of this article where you can go check it out.
It's a diet model that I think 99% of people could benefit from at least exploring and looking into it, or trying out once.
It's important to understand what you're leaving on the table by not eating correctly.
The Vertical Diet saves you so much time that you would otherwise spend researching to try and create an overarching user-friendly diet model with optimized health outcomes.
Regardless of how much you care about muscle, strength and overall physical performance, the health portion of your diet is extremely important and should not be neglected.
For your reference, here are my vertical diet logs with extensive bloodwork details:
The Vertical Diet Download
If you want to read through and try out the Vertical Diet for yourself, you can download it here: Vertical Diet & Peak Performance Detailed Program Notes 3.0
Stan Efferding's Vertical Diet Review
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