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Paleo Diet/Primal lifestyle





Jinx
Ok, so I was browsing the web and came across a site called Mark's Daily Apple. This guy has written a book called the Primal Blueprint. It's both a diet and exercise system, and a lifestyle. He's not the first or only person to research and advocate this, there is also a book called the Paleo Diet, and a number of others.

The premise is this:
Human beings have been around for 2.5 Million years. During the first 2.49 million we ate mostly lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and vegetables - no refined grains, no refined sugars, no grain-fed cattle or assembly line chickens - agriculture only having been discovered about 10,000 years ago. So, we have evolved to handle a diet high in protein and vegetables, but not carbs and simple sugars. Now, most diet related illnesses (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc...) do not apply selective evolutionary pressure because most folks who dies from these things have already had children. So, we have never adapted to handle a diet of mostly grains.

He puts forth that the ideal human diet should be high in healthy fats, protein, and vegetables, and devoid (to varying degrees) of grains, starchy roots, legumes, and dairy.

He also advocates strength training in the form of short, intense strength training workouts two to three times a week, sprinting at least once a week, and lots of slow moving around whenever possible- as opposed to frequent low-intensity workouts. His pattern of exercise more closely resembles what our distant ancestors would have been doing to survive.

Now, even though this system flies in the face of conventional wisdom, it makes a lot of sense to me.
Why shouldn't we look at how our species evolved to determine what we should eat and do for optimal health.

I'm giving it a try, and I'm on my second week, and so far so good. I've lost 11 lbs, and feel great.

What I'm wondering is this:

Has anyone else here tried this sort of diet? Were you able to stick with it for the long run? What were your results? What do you think about this approach to health and nutrition?
handfleisch
Well whether the origins or reasons for it are true or not, it doesn't matter since it just sounds like a healthy diet in general. Personally I think to say we aren't meant to eat grains sounds nuts (no pun intended), but it doesn't matter as long as what you are eating is OK in general.

Your positive results might also come from the fact that any change in diet towards the positive, no matter what it is based on, tends to have a good effect. So keep it up.

I always keep in mind that worrying too much about what you eat is worse for your health than eating a little bit of sugar or whatever. All thing in moderation (including moderation).
deanhills
I wonder how long lasting the positive results would be however. And I'm not talking about yo yo dieting. It has been proven that one burns your maximum calories when your metabolism is at its most active. As soon as you feed it a repetitive diet of the same, it initially responds favourably, but after two weeks weight loss your metabolism may have adjusted to the new diet and weight loss may taper off or you may even gain a pound or two. So better to vary the diet all the time. Also, some people do very well on high protein and flesh foods, others do better with a low protein diet. Probably better to consult a dietician, or to make sure you vary your diet all the time. Our bodies change all the time, and what may be good for us today, may be different tomorrow when our body needs more nutrients from a different source.
Crinoid
Good topic, thanks! Can you share more, what food are you using?

I'm trying to stick with Stone Aged Diet myself, but have troubles with finding substitutes:
1. If beef is too hybridized, lamb, pork and fish have objectionable taste to me, red chicken meat contains too much fat, what is left - chicken breasts only? In what amounts, how prepared.
2. Vegetables, not starchy, with low glycemic index, that will not make you even more hungry than before eating them, what are they for you?
3. Fats and oils: if no butter, and I have not a good reaction on plant's oils, what to use in the first part of day? Bacon is objectionable by taste and reaction on it.
4. Nuts and seeds: which ones, in what amounts?
5. Drinks and snacks, what they are for you?

Looking forward to learn from your experience.
BigGeek
I've been eating the Paleo diet for years, long before it was called that!

I eat plenty of Buffalo, renge fed beef, range fed pork, and chickens, I live in Colorado, and get them from local farms so i know how they are raised and kept. I also get my eggs from the same, and believe me, the chickens are huge, and run all over the farm where I get them from....no cages, they peck at your feet when you pull up.

I also drink raw unpasturized milk from well kept and tested cows....OHHHH SOOOO GOOD!!!

I eat veggies and fruits I grow or buy from local growers, and yes I still buy fruits and veggies at the grocey store....my grocery bill is really low as I do not buy dairy, eggs, or meat from them, and in the summer time almost no fruits or veggies either.

I'm 50 years old and been lifting weights and doing strength training since I was 15 years old. I'm still in good shape for my age!!

Why did I adopt this diet about 12 years ago? Allergies, I went through a horrible period where I just fell apart physically, I developed diarreha from everything I ate, broke out in skin rashes, developed asthma, and for a person that ate a healthy diet and worked out regularly, I was stunned, I started working with an MD that was an allergist and her wholistic dietician and discovered all the food alergies. What they put me on to help me out was in essence the Paleo Diet, I'm allergic to wheat and most grains, as well as refined sugars and sweet stuff.

Lean Meats, eggs, raw dairy, Fruits and Veggies, Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cahews, NO PEANUTS, and others, fruit and veggie drinks I juice myself, and high fructose corn syrup and the other crap they put in juice gives me the shits and makes me break out in rashes.

I've been eating this way for 12 years, and I'm healthier than when I started.

Long term effects.......GREAT, I'm free from allergies!!
deanhills
@BigGeek. Nice to read your own personal experiences. Perhaps you could easily write a book of your own? Your story is very motivational and a great example to follow.

I'm surprised however that when you are suffering from allergies that you can tolerate milk so well? Usually that is on the top of the list of allergens. I only have skim milk if I do have milk, and when I do, I actually find myself sneezing like crazy. Even low-fat milk makes me feel quite nauseous and the smell of "cow" is offputting as well.

Think I need to get hold of the Paleo Diet book from Amazon. May be good for me. I have "O" negative blood, and when I read the book by Dr. Peter D'Adamo about "Eat Right for Your Type", it indicated the Paleo type diet for someone with "O" negative blood.
peaceupnorth
deanhills wrote:
I'm surprised however that when you are suffering from allergies that you can tolerate milk so well? Usually that is on the top of the list of allergens. I only have skim milk if I do have milk, and when I do, I actually find myself sneezing like crazy. Even low-fat milk makes me feel quite nauseous and the smell of "cow" is offputting as well.

Think I need to get hold of the Paleo Diet book from Amazon. May be good for me. I have "O" negative blood, and when I read the book by Dr. Peter D'Adamo about "Eat Right for Your Type", it indicated the Paleo type diet for someone with "O" negative blood.

Dear Deanhills,
The "Eat Right For your Type" theory doesn't hold a lot of water. Just thought I'd mention that... you can look it up to get more info...

Regarding the paleo diet... it is also pretty theoretical and controversial. I mean... check out Dean Ornish or Colin Campbell's research on diet and disease... they feed people NO meat or eggs, and plenty of grains, beans and seeds... and their patients get MUCH helathier, to the point that their chronic diseases are cured (kind of like your milk experience).

One major idea in the Plaeo Diet is that "humans have been eating this way for thousands of years... thus we are SUPPOSED to eat this way and it is the HEALTHIEST way to eat..." well I don't buy it.....

For one: Lots of tribes ate grains... look at wild rice from the great lakes region, or some of those frozen ice age corpses they found carrying grain. Also, many native people collect lots of wild plant foods of all varieties: roots, seed, grain etc, and at some times of year may live 80% off those foods - even in chilly Canada.

2nd point: People are adaptable. We can learn to eat a lot of things. But just because we learned to hunt and kill large animals, it doesn't mean that's our optimal food. Maybe that is just what was available during the ice age. Perhaps before the ice age we ate 90-95% plant foods, like our ape cousins?

Most of the good science studies I've been exposed to re diet says that people are mostly healthier on a vegetarian diet. Some people have a hard time changing their diet, but that can be helped with herbs and special foods for a time.
deanhills
peaceupnorth wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I'm surprised however that when you are suffering from allergies that you can tolerate milk so well? Usually that is on the top of the list of allergens. I only have skim milk if I do have milk, and when I do, I actually find myself sneezing like crazy. Even low-fat milk makes me feel quite nauseous and the smell of "cow" is offputting as well.

Think I need to get hold of the Paleo Diet book from Amazon. May be good for me. I have "O" negative blood, and when I read the book by Dr. Peter D'Adamo about "Eat Right for Your Type", it indicated the Paleo type diet for someone with "O" negative blood.

Dear Deanhills,
The "Eat Right For your Type" theory doesn't hold a lot of water. Just thought I'd mention that... you can look it up to get more info...

Regarding the paleo diet... it is also pretty theoretical and controversial. I mean... check out Dean Ornish or Colin Campbell's research on diet and disease... they feed people NO meat or eggs, and plenty of grains, beans and seeds... and their patients get MUCH helathier, to the point that their chronic diseases are cured (kind of like your milk experience).

One major idea in the Plaeo Diet is that "humans have been eating this way for thousands of years... thus we are SUPPOSED to eat this way and it is the HEALTHIEST way to eat..." well I don't buy it.....

For one: Lots of tribes ate grains... look at wild rice from the great lakes region, or some of those frozen ice age corpses they found carrying grain. Also, many native people collect lots of wild plant foods of all varieties: roots, seed, grain etc, and at some times of year may live 80% off those foods - even in chilly Canada.

2nd point: People are adaptable. We can learn to eat a lot of things. But just because we learned to hunt and kill large animals, it doesn't mean that's our optimal food. Maybe that is just what was available during the ice age. Perhaps before the ice age we ate 90-95% plant foods, like our ape cousins?

Most of the good science studies I've been exposed to re diet says that people are mostly healthier on a vegetarian diet. Some people have a hard time changing their diet, but that can be helped with herbs and special foods for a time.
Good point. The high-fat, high-protein type diets do clog up the system in a big way. You also tend to loose weight for only a few weeks, so probably if one does follow a diet like that, there should be a time limit of two weeks. Can't be healthy for blood cells however because of its "clogging" affect. For those with cardiovascular disease, apparently an all-vegetable and fruit diet with zero fat for a few months seem to be a good remedy, and then to gradually expand on this by adding small quantities of legumes and grains. Dairy products are not recommended either.

I do believe as a practical example of my kind of digestion, that the Blood Type book was spot on for my blood type, but I have to agree with you that the diets that are prescribed for the different Blood Types are not necessarily ideal. It does provide for interesting reading however.
gandalfthegrey
Sounds interesting. I remember a similar trend that was happening in the late nineteen-nineties alongside the Atkins Diet trend featuring primitive meat-based diets.
deanhills
gandalfthegrey wrote:
Sounds interesting. I remember a similar trend that was happening in the late nineteen-nineties alongside the Atkins Diet trend featuring primitive meat-based diets.
Right. They are good with dramatic weight loss, but probably very unhealthy especially when they are used long-term. The best diet probably is to become very active and focussed on non-food activities so that food can become fuel for the body instead of overly focussed on food. Guess one has to go on some kind of mental diet where food is pushed into its rightful place. Maybe there is too much emphasis on it, both for entertainment and trying to change the shape of our bodies.
Jinx
Ok, so I was on this diet faithfully until Thanksgiving - no bread, no beans, no rice, no potatoes, lots of veggies and meat, moderate dairy, etc... I allowed myself to cheat a little at Thanksgiving (I couldn't pass up Pumpkin Pie, cranberry sauce and stuffing) because it was a special occasion. After Thanksgiving we got very busy and I didn't have time to plan out my meals like I had been. I'm a truck driver, and without a lot of planning it's difficult to eat right on the road. Most truck stops carry lots of junk food and very little healthy stuff, especially grain-free healthy stuff. So, quite often over December I had to just grab a sandwich or burrito or whatever was available and run because I didn't have any time. I was still trying to keep grains and other carbs to a minimum, but I wasn't able to follow the diet faithfully.

Here's my results:

Over the first month, when I followed the diet properly, I lost 15 lbs. and had a huge increase in energy. Also, my husband caught the flu during this period, and despite living in close quarters in the truck, I never caught it.
The second month, when I wasn't able to follow the diet, but still made an effort to reduce grains, sugars, and starches (I would say I was having one serving of bread a day most days, and let myself have a little dark chocolate and one candy cane), I gained back 2 lbs. and felt crappy with less energy.

Now, it's Jan 1, time for New Year's Resolutions, and I'm back on the diet as of this morning. My goal for the year is to lose 50lbs by next New Year's.


Crinoid wrote:
Good topic, thanks! Can you share more, what food are you using?

I'm trying to stick with Stone Aged Diet myself, but have troubles with finding substitutes:
1. If beef is too hybridized, lamb, pork and fish have objectionable taste to me, red chicken meat contains too much fat, what is left - chicken breasts only? In what amounts, how prepared.
2. Vegetables, not starchy, with low glycemic index, that will not make you even more hungry than before eating them, what are they for you?
3. Fats and oils: if no butter, and I have not a good reaction on plant's oils, what to use in the first part of day? Bacon is objectionable by taste and reaction on it.
4. Nuts and seeds: which ones, in what amounts?
5. Drinks and snacks, what they are for you?

Looking forward to learn from your experience.


If you find most meat distasteful then this probably isn't the diet for you. As far as worrying about the fat content - don't, instead worry about the quality of the fat.

Mark's Daily Apple wrote:


“But what about all that saturated fat? Aren’t you worried about clogging up your arteries?”

In fact, “saturated fat” isn’t just that; it’s often “artery-clogging saturated fat.” Hell, a Google search for that exact phrase in quotations produces 4,490 entries (soon to be 4,491, I suppose). Most doctors toe the company line and roundly condemn it, while the media generally follows suit. The public, unsurprisingly, laps it up from birth. The result is a deeply ingrained systemic assumption that saturated fat is evil, bad, dangerous, and sinful, a preconceived notion that precludes any meaningful dialogue from taking place. Everyone “knows” that saturated fat clogs your arteries – that’s treated as a given – and attempting to even question that assumption gets you lumped in the crazy category. After all, if you start from such a “fundamentally incorrect position,” how can the rest of your argument be trusted? Thus, talk of the superior cardiovascular health of the Tokelau (with their 50% dietary saturated fat intake) or the Masai (with their diet of meat, blood, and milk) or the Inuit (with their ancestral diet of high-blubber animals) is all disregarded or ignored. If they even deign to listen to the facts, they’ll acknowledge the existence of healthy populations eating tons of saturated fat while muttering something about “genetic adaptation” or “statistical outliers.” It’s all hogwash, and it’s infuriating, especially when there’s so much literature refuting the saturated fat hypothesis. If you’re interested in more information on these three oft-cited high-saturated fat groups, check out Stephan’s entries on the Tokelau, the Masai, and the Inuit.


You can read the rest of this article (with lots of sources for the info he presents) at: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/saturated-fat-healthy/

As far as how much? As much as you want. meat is generally lower in calories, and protein will fill you up faster and keep you satisfied longer, so you'll find you're less likely to over-eat anyway. Grill it, bake it, broil it - try to avoid frying it.

Veggies - any non-starchy vegetable is fine, they all tend to have fairly low glycemic indexes compared to fruits. Fruit you want to eat in moderation, and try to stay with berries when you do. I tend to eat a lot of squash, zucchini, and eggplant, but that's because they keep longer on the truck where my refrigerated storage is limited.

For oils - full cream organic butter is fine. Also try coconut oil, and olive oil. Bacon grease is great for cooking, too. Stay away from corn, peanut, soy, and canola oils.

Nuts and seed - any of them except peanuts, which aren't actually nuts, but legumes. Hazel, pecan, walnut, almond, pistachio, cashew, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts - all great.

for drinks- I usually just drink water. Sometimes I'll add a twist of lemon or lime juice. Herbal tea (if you can stand it without sugar), coffee (cream, no sugar). Some of the folks I've talked to on primal diets swear by kefir, which is a fermented milk drink, but I've never tried it.
For snacks I eat a lot of beef jerky, nuts, carrot sticks, occasionally fruit. A little dark chocolate for a treat is ok, too, but try to get it with the least sugar possible (like the 72% cacao bars) and don't over do it.

Check out Primal Blueprint 101 : http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/

for more information, research, recipes, personal stories, how-tos, etc...
deanhills
@jinx. What I admire most in your posting is your resolve and promise to yourself. I have no doubt that you are going to loose the 50lb if not more by the end of this year. I need to loose more than that, and even with New Year's find myself lacking in getting that resolve together. But yes, resolve and self-motivation are two of the most important ingredients, together with a diet that has some variety in it, and a lifestyle that thrills us and wants us to go out and "whoop it up"! Usually when we are thrilled by something, including a diet that has made us loose a lot of weight, we are making progress. Have you worked exercise into the programme as well? Smile
Jinx
Thank you, deanhills. *blush*

I actually need to lose a lot more than 50 lbs, but I figure a pound a week is a reasonable goal. I've tried a lot of diets of all kinds, and so far this one has been the easiest to stick with because I'm not hungry, and that gives me great hope that I'll be able to see this through.

As for exercise, I'm trying to get out of the truck and walk whenever I can, which isn't often, but that was more than i was doing. I'm also adding a little weight training in the form of push-ups and situps in the bunk, and using the top bunk for a sort of incline pull-up. I can also do squats in the truck, there's just enough room. I bought a 15lb kettle bell and have been using it for curls. It's not as much as I'd like to be doing, but it's a start. The biggest challenge for me right now is finding the time.
Rupert
According to my point of view paleo diet and hcg diet both are very effective for reduce the weight of the body. It also give the strength to the body muscles.
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
I always keep in mind that worrying too much about what you eat is worse for your health than eating a little bit of sugar or whatever. All thing in moderation (including moderation).
That is soooo true!

I'd better go and look up the Paleo diet again. Very Happy
GuidanceReader
I've been doing the Paleolithic diet (although I am a lot more strict than anyone else I've ever found who does the diet, other than my husband) for almost 6 years.

Since doing the diet:

- I have lost 4-5 dress sizes (doing the bulk in the first year, when I wasn't very strict at all),
- I have stopped getting migraines
- I essentially cured myself of asthma (I was in hospital 1-2 times a year right up until I went on the diet, and my asthma was considered as getting worse and I was put on preventatives towards the end, which I am no longer on either)
- No longer get yeast infections, which I used to get so bad that even after the top-shelf medication, I had it back after a week or two - the doctor didn't know what to do about it.
- I have stopped muscle pain.
- I have more energy
- I have better muscle definition

I did ALL of this with NO exercise (other than incidental)... When I included the exercise I gained muscle growth which helped my muscle definition and much more strength. (I am not doing any exercise again - I am lazy - but my husband does 1 hour every 3 days of interval weight training and can lift quite large numbers now, he's tried to do it for years, and only saw results since doing the diet).

I only have good things to say about the diet, and am writing a cook book, as at first I was upset about all the things I was missing out on. We don't follow the 80/20 rule on Mark's Daily Apple, we try to maintain as close to the diet at all times, pending on circumstances (i.e. when we're overseas, we do the best we can), and I eat sushi once a week, as that's my vice.

Both of my children have been brought up on the strict paleolithic diet since I was pregnant with them (I had to talk to a dietitian about it when I was pregnant and after showing him the evidence, he gave us the go ahead). They have good behaviour, good muscle definition (no they don't do weights), they are healthy and rarely-never get sick (even when every kid in our playgroup seems to be sick every second week) and when they do, it doesn't seem to bother them at all. They have great appetites, with both of them out-eating most adult guests at our dinner table (they are aged 2 and 4). They both can eat a 300g steak no worries and I've seen them eat 2 t-bones on their own on at least one occasion. They don't miss out on treats, as I made it a priority to learn to make 'special' things like cakes and sweets given the parameters of our diet. We also include cocoa (but only 100%) even though some don't, as evidence shows it is a seed, not a bean. This means my children even have chocolate treats!

We get all our meat from a reputable butchers, who guarantees grass-fed beef (which tastes much better in my opinion). We render our own cooking fat (lard and tallow) and eat bone marrow regularly (the kids think it's a treat!). We also get sausages made out of 100% beef specially made at the same butcher.

Comparing our costs to other family members, our individual meals seem to cost more, but our overall grocery expenses are about the same. Being on this diet we tend to snack less and our incidental foods are non-existent. We also rarely eat out (not many places that cater our needs), and when we do it is for special occasions (like birthdays) when other people will be eating out anyway, so our spending is also reduced there. I have quick-to-make meals for when I am not in the mood to cook, and we often visit friends/family for dinner (we also return the favour), meaning we 'eat out' at least once a week, but it's not costing us an arm and a leg.

When I started the diet, I did feel like I was missing out. The sugar cravings were similar to a person coming off other addictions, and I'd admit there were plenty of times I said that I thought I was going to die. But once I made the transition, I think this is the best decision I could have EVER made for me and my family. From all the evidence we (my husband and myself) have gathered over the 2 years prior to starting and the almost 6 years during (we constantly research and modify), it is suggested that this diet will be good for 90% (if not 100%) of the human population. It's what we were 'made' to eat!

As you can probably see, from the size of this post, this diet is one of my passions, so any questions, feel free to ask.
deanhills
@GuidanceReader. This is definitely a +++++ post. Thanks for sharing. I was going to do some research on the topic, but you've just made it so much easier for me, particularly with regard to your passion for the subject. I'd imagine this diet has contributed a lot of clarity of mind as well?

I have many questions, but I'd imagine they could all be covered with the right resources. You mention Mark's Daily Apple. Is this what you followed initially. What compact easy-to-read literature can you recommend reading before embarking on this lifestyle diet?
GuidanceReader
@deanhills, If you can get a hold of the book Neanderthin then that's a good introduction, research wise.

We first started following the Paleolithic diet via a website that I can no longer remember the name of (and I can't find it), which gave some simple recipes. This was very limited, as it listed most of the things you could not eat, but many of the recipes were boring, tasted gross or didn't really follow the 'rules'. We then found the Active Low-Carber Forum which has a section dedicated to Paleolithic eating and the Caveman Forum. Both were good to discuss ideas and share recipes. It was via one of those forums that we discovered Mark's Daily Apple. We were impressed with his progress photos and this gave us the motivation to better refine our diet based on our research.

My husband and I try to simplify it for our family and friends, stating that we try not to eat: Grains, Dairy, Nightshades, Tubers, Legumes, New world plants or Artificially made/modified foods.

I have made a signature for those forums which lists all the things I don't consider Paleo (although I still eat some of them, such as Cocoa, Mango etc as we think they are close enough related to things we would have eaten - or they are unavoidable in our day and time). Our theory is based on what foods (or close enough related) were available when Paleolithic man was around is what we can eat.



We no longer frequent the Paleo forums/boards as we often get a lot of disagreement with our beliefs as they are pretty strict. My Husband goes by the name Tarlach and I am Paleomum, if you wanted to see what we had to say on any topics.
deanhills
OK. I'll look out for the book. I Googled and there was a bit of information out there, looks pretty healthy almost along common sense lines. Neanderthin does seem to be recommended reading for a kick start. So will check out if I can find the book at my favourite bookshop in Dubai Mall, or go for Amazon.

I'd think one of the greatest strategies would be to spend less time in front of the computer. A brand-new lifestyle.
GuidanceReader
Meh, I live in front of my computer Razz My husband thinks I have a better relationship with the screen than I do with him Laughing Laughing
Octavius
The use of the paleo is very common among the men and there is only one reason behind it because women always prefer the use of the HCG to get the results and to maintain the health.
GuidanceReader
I am a Paleo Eater. I am woman. I've been doing it for 6 years and love the results!!! Generalisations aren't very good.
rogue_skydragon
My boss told me about the paleo diet. I think I'll have to try this out for myself.
c'tair
I've heard about it a long time ago. I think it does make a lot of sense, however I haven't tried it.

I feel good enough as it is and I don't seem to be having any health problems (except varicose veins, which seem to run in the family).

I think doing anything differently than is the norm in our times is healthier for people. I started a 6 day per week calisthenics routine some time ago and I not only look much better and feel better mentally, my body has stopped aching me, even some old injuries have disappeared Shocked .

I never wanna quit exercising like this again. Too bad that our modern life pushes away these kinds of initiatives in favor of working hard. I'd rather work less and live a painless and healthier life than make more money and be miserable.
deanhills
c'tair wrote:
I started a 6 day per week calisthenics routine some time ago
Are you attending classes or are you doing it by yourself? Sounds like something great to do.
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