Strong Medicine by Dr. Blake Donaldson

This is a classic low carb book which has been out-of-print for a long time. The PDF is already available on High Steaks – Meat is Life and Just Meat, but I decided to make it available through my website as well. Dr. Donaldson went to medical school in the late 1800s and practiced medicine in New York until the mid-1900s. His book was published in 1961. He had very good success treating his obese patients with an all-meat diet. His general prescription was 6 oz of lean and 2 oz of visible fat three times per day from either lamb or beef. He never recommended pork, chicken, fish, or eggs, but only meat from ruminants. He says that if his patients did not eat enough food, enough times a day, they would invariably stop losing body fat. If you struggle with obesity and cannot seem to lose weight no matter what you do, his approach is definitely worth exploring. I really enjoyed it.

Strong Medicine by Dr. Blake Donaldson



20 thoughts on “Strong Medicine by Dr. Blake Donaldson

  1. I’ve read a good portion of this book months ago and as I recall, he also told his patients to eat potatoes with their meat. Not that I personally agree with that. I can’t eat potatoes myself. They make me severely sleepy. I’m wondering if he recommended them at that time for the Vitamin C…something I was pondering the other day because I was thinking about this book at the time. Funny you share it today.


      • On page 55 of the book Strong Medicine Dr. Donaldson states that he chose potatoes to accompany the meat. So given where it’s stated in the book, it was not before weight loss took place. He also allowed for coffee at an unlimited amount at first but then states he later limited it.

        Still not sure why he used any starch at all though. He doesn’t give a reason on that page. Maybe for the fiber? I don’t know. I’m just guessing, just as I guessed at the reason being for Vitamin C. I don’t pretend to know for sure. Just starting conversation.

        Also, I noticed that I can no longer access your blog. Your last post comes up in my reader but when I try to see your whole blog I get one of those “Nothing Found” pages.
        Did you block me?


          • Oh yes, that works! Thank you. I will file the link in my favorites. Glad you posted that pdf too, because I’d started the book and then hadn’t read the whole thing. I’ve started reading it again.


      • Sorry, I hadn’t read far enough before my last comment. The author does state a reason for the potato as the ease of digestion. Lol, guess that would be a matter of individuality now a days.


  2. It’s so good of you to make this available for your readers, Esmee–thank you! I’m reading your PDF copy of the Newbold book right now and will start on this one afterward. I’m feeling so much better already…I’m going to also take your suggestion about cutting back on salt to see how that goes. Anything that helps me to sleep better will be something I adopt for good. Thanks again and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day 🙂


  3. I’d heard of Donaldson before but never read him. And Newbold was completely new to me. These are amazing reads. When Donaldson wrote about “the old idea that calories are interchangeable, whether derived from protein, or fat, or carbohydrate” (43) I nearly fell off my chair. They had it all figured out long before there were all these sophisticated devices that we have now. Thanks so much for sharing these books!


  4. I just finished the Donaldson book. What a great book. So my question would
    be what if the patients had eaten butter and salt with the meat, any comments?


  5. Pingback: Zero Carb Interview: Sergey Yakunin | Eat Meat. Drink Water.

  6. Dear Esmee, Thank you so much for posting about Dr. Donaldson. I downloaded the book and can’t stop reading it. It’s no different from the prescription of “Eat Meat. Drink water.” , except that he specifies the fat/protein ratio that he found most useful, as well as recommending suet as a fat. I had been using double cream and butter as additional fat, but I stopped these and immediately lost 2 pounds. I ordered suet and am now using that. Looks like a winner! I loved that he interviewed Stefanson as well.


  7. Many thanks for posting this.

    Where you mention “He says that if his patients did not eat enough food, enough times a day, they would invariably stop losing body fat,” could you please point to a specific page number (or numbers)?

    Again, thanks for bringing attention to this book.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I think I found it. His language is blunt:

        page 35:
        “Most fat people don’t eat enough fat meat three times a day to start the fire that will burn off their own excess fat.”

        Here is the longer excerpt, same page:
        “There may be an upper level of
        meat intake where no one can lose, but I’ve never found it.

        “However, we do know how small a portion of meat can be
        eaten while regaining and maintaining health and at the same
        time losing weight. Much of the concern shown over nutrition
        has been with vitamin deficiency. In this country the real
        deficiency state is not due to lack of vitamins but to a lack of
        amino acids. We must get enough of these essential amino
        acids to keep our body cells in a state of good repair.

        “In the effort to work out an effective anti-obesity routine,
        and in an entirely arbitrary way, a half pound of fresh fat
        meat without salt was chosen to be eaten with each meal.
        Apparently it was a fortunate choice, for that is the amount
        I still recommend.

        “From what I have observed, a half pound of meat per meal
        is the minimum quantity needed to maintain the work of
        repair of body cells.

        “Trial-and-error work seemed to show that the proportion of
        lean and fat had to be about three to one. Fat by itself is not
        easily digested. It must be mixed with something else. So
        the portion of meat after cooking should consist of two ounces
        of attached fat and six ounces of lean.

        “Most fat people don’t eat enough fat meat three times a day
        to start the fire that will burn off their own excess fat.”

        [He also says of water (page 36):

        “Water is the most important food of all.

        “Why it seems necessary in weight reduction to complete
        the drinking of six glasses of water (taken between meals)
        by five o’clock in the afternoon is indeed a mystery. It is said
        that Rommel trained his desert Afrika Korps to be thirsty
        only at certain times. It does seem possible, after six weeks
        of the regime, to get people trying to lose weight over a sense
        of thirst late in the day. Most chemical reactions in the body
        take place only in the presence of water, and avoiding it completely after five o’clock in the evening apparently helps the anti-fat forces in the body to do their work.”]


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