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Primal diet/lifestyle thread

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Clayton Posted: Wed, Jan 11 2012 5:51 PM

I've started doing primal diet. I ordered Mark Sisson's book, The Primal Blueprint. Still waiting for it to arrive.

I'm starting out at 226. I should probably weigh around 185-195 given my height and build. I've been cooking high-fat/high-protein, zero-grains, eating tons of sauteed and fresh veggies and some fruits and nuts. I have dropped a couple pounds in just a few days (probably mostly water weight) but I do feel more energy. Even small things... my sense of touch has become more sensitive, my sense of smell has become more sensitive and I feel more energy and have not experienced those headachey hunger pangs despite having gotten hungry a couple times due to not having a snack handy.

I'm committed to doing this ... it's not even a new year's resolution, it has just happened that circumstances have coalesced to this point. I'm interested in hearing if anyone else is doing primal or something close and what your stories are.

My immediate goals are: get to 210 (I expect it to take 2-3 weeks), then I'm going to sign up for Judo again. This will constitute my "Lift Heavy Things" high-intensity workouts twice weekly. I had signed up back in 2007 and went for about 3 months but the trauma was just too much due to my weight (I was around 220 back then). From there, I want to go down to my natural weight and body composition and once again "Look Good Naked." I can't wait to be me again.

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Autolykos replied on Wed, Jan 11 2012 5:55 PM

Good luck!

I've also been thinking about going primal. I don't need to lose weight - rather, I want to gain more lean muscle mass. Having read several parts of Mark Sisson's website, I think the primal recipes alone would be a great benefit to me.

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Jan 11 2012 6:02 PM

I was going to add that you shouldn't neglect weight lifting, but it appears that you've already got that covered. I do suggest some pure weight lifting however. I started doing that a year ago and after just a few months I could feel the gain. Plus, lifting boosts your metabolism for long after you're done for the day. Anyway, good luck!

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Clayton replied on Wed, Jan 11 2012 6:23 PM

@Wheylous: Lifting heavy things is definitely good but I've never really felt comfortable in a standard gym. I just can't explain why. I like Judo and, yes, you do plenty of heavy lifting. I have pretty good natural muscle definition (I was a bean-stalk until about 20 then I "filled out" ... then a few years after that I started to "round out" :-( ), so I mainly just need to lose the fat and tone the muscle I already have.

The BJJ guys do this thing called "Ginastica Natural" that I just stumbled across and I'm considering learning to do those movements... they look like a great way to get a light to moderate workout on days when I'm not going to the dojo. I have plenty of bodyweight to move around (even when I'm not overweight) so I really like the idea of bodyweight-based workouts.

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The hard part is staying on it. If your wife/girlfriend/roommate/whatever cooks for you, then that person has agree with your new philosophy regarding food; otherwise, you'll have to cook for yourself. I had to cook for myself while I was on it, but then came finals and I didn't have that much time to cook. But I've been getting back on it.

I went from 210 to 195 in about two months, but then gained a few pounds during finals because I went off it (I ate a lot potatoes and sweets during the holidays, and ate a lot of breaded fried chicken from Popeyes). At first, you'll loose a lot of water that your body has been withholding to process junk, but you'll eventually start to loose fat and build muscle if you exercise and not sit in front of your computer all day.

Also, drink a lot of water!!! Chilled/ice water works for me, but you can add lemon juice (directly from a lemon) to give it some taste. Also, beware the breaded anything. Say, you go to a Chinese restaurant and have the orange chicken and forego the rice, you'll still eat a lot of carbs because the orange chicken is breaded and the ratio of the breading to meat is about 1 to 1. Same goes for the fried chicken from Popeyes.

EDIT: Also, if your goal is to loose inches of your waist, add muscle, gain definitions, then don't focus on losing weight. Instead, focus on what your body looks like and feels.

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Malachi replied on Wed, Jan 11 2012 6:45 PM
Congratulations on your newfound perspective on nutrition and fitness! I have been eating primally (sort of) for about 6 months and it has made a world of difference in my life. I want to post more but I am busy right now and I was so excited I had to get into the thread! So Grok on!
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Wheylous replied on Wed, Jan 11 2012 6:53 PM

 I have pretty good natural muscle definition ... so I mainly just need to lose the fat and tone the muscle I already have.

Even so, lifting weights is vital.

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Lewis S. replied on Wed, Jan 11 2012 7:11 PM

Clayton/Daniel,

I'm interested as to what your take on dairy is. A friend of mine went primal about six months ago, with astonishing results. He's lost about 30 pounds since, and kept it off, though he slacked for a few weeks during the holidays. He's pretty active and gets a lot of exercise, but generally stays away from dairy, though.

He tells me that Sisson is sort of neutral on dairy products. Why is this, exactly? I love milk and cheese...!

 

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Clayton replied on Wed, Jan 11 2012 7:11 PM

@Wheylous:

Weight-lifting judoka style:

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Clayton replied on Wed, Jan 11 2012 7:29 PM

 

@Lewis: Good question... dairy has been one of the catalysts in my decision. About a year ago, I developed lactose-intolerance. I didn't consume more than the average American so I was puzzled why this happened to me. I did a little reading and found that lactose-tolerance is itself "aberrant" from the point-of-view of human evolutionary diet... human beings didn't regularly consume dairy until after we domesticated animals, which we probably didn't do to any significant degree until the last 10,000 years.

There is a "lactose-switch" in your genes that, before about 10,000 years ago, would have switched off in your early childhood (I may not be saying this completely scientifically accurately but you get the idea). You don't need to digest lactose when you're not drinking your mother's breastmilk anymore. But humans now have a wide variation in lactose tolerance... I understand mainland Europe has the highest average age at which lactose-intolerance sets in (some people never get it) and some countries have less than 5% lactose tolerance in adults.

When I learned this, I remembered reading some of these crazy Mark Sisson articles on LRC from time to time and it just clicked. Then I realized... holy crap, he's right, the human diet is the result of millions of years of evolution and you can't just switch out your digestive tract like it's a '69 Impala drivetrain. It takes many, many generations of evolution to switch from a primarily protein-fat diet to a primarily carb diet, yet we eat a massively carb-heavy diet nowadays and even the low-carb diets still have you eating grains despite the fact that humans never ate grains until very recently in terms of our evolutionary history.

I remember feeling a fire for life when I was a teenager... and somehow along the way this got lost. I considered every possible reason for it except diet. Then when I began to suspect it might be diet and lifestyle, I tried working out, tried low-carb diets but it still didn't "feel right"... it wasn't making me feel like I did when I was young... full of zest for life. But this feels right. Unless God screwed up, living in optimal health should feel optimally good! The idea that optimal health consists of half-starving yourself on a calorie-restricted, low-fat diet while flogging yourself on the treadmill day after day is obviously absurd.

Anyway, dairy is not an unrestricted option for me anymore, so that choice has been made for me. I have it on occasion with a lactase pill but only in something like Greek yogurt or some of the dry Italian cheeses.

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Clayton replied on Wed, Jan 11 2012 7:40 PM

you'll have to cook for yourself

I have decided that, whatever the case, I will eat right. Right now, I'm exploring recipe options and trying to get more comfortable in the kitchen. I've been cooking for myself to one degree or another over the last few years but I want to take it to the next level. If someone else can cook something healthy and nutritious, I'm happy to eat it. Otherwise, I can just snack on some nuts or pastrami and pass until the next chance I have to fix a real meal.

That's the difference with the high-protein/low-carb/low-fat diets I've tried before... it isn't just about the protein anymore, it's about everything... it's about not eating poison, not eating sugars and carbs with no nutrition in them (non-veggie carbs). I don't think I'll miss it. My ancestry is Nordic and I'm pretty sure they ate a very high-protein, high-fat diet so I suspect that the primal nutrition is additionally true for me. Some people may have some adapted tolerance for grains but I'm probably not one of those people.

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Jargon replied on Wed, Jan 11 2012 10:28 PM

For a minimal "primal" schedule: Hill sprints, clean and press (rocks, logs, whatever), rope climb/ thick grip pullups

A lot of people make working out complicated, but it isn't really. Compound movements and realistic applications are two principles which when followed have the highest crossover to real life competition. That is if performance is what you're after. If you're into cosmetics then bicep curls and pec flies can't hurt but there'll be little application for those movements other than lifting a jug of milk or something. I'm also not too big a fan of lifting 600 lb weights since that doesn't seem to have much crossover either, plus there's the significant risk of injury and the enormous caloric intake required to reach that goal. It's more of a thing in itself at that point, rather than something to be applied outside of the weight room. You'd still be a beast to be able to deadlift 600 lbs, but for the application that has to, say, tackling someone, one could train by tackling someone and get the same results in a much shorter period of time. It sounds like you know what your doing Clayton but I felt like contributing to the thread :P Anyways if you want to look good naked, why bother with high intensity?

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 12:35 AM

if you want to look good naked, why bother with high intensity?

I've always had a soft spot for martial arts... I went to a boxing club for a year or so and screwed around with my buddies practicing all sorts of moves. Judo has always had a particular attraction for me because it combines the realism of competition with the depth of long historical experience derived from actual battle (jiu-jutsu).

The Judo workout is very cardio intensive but it is also very short - that makes it primal-compatible, in my view. I guess it kind of combines the LHT and Sprinting components into one package. The attitude of formality and respect in the dojo also makes it very easy to feel like you're coming home to a warm cup of tea... something familiar, something comforting. Putting on your gi gives you a feeling of belonging and purpose and sets the mood for making the most of the time spent in the dojo. Working on ukemi (falls) and related exercises before the workout begins in earnest provides you the chance to work on being precise without pressure.

One of the things Mark mentions in his list of a dream workout area is a "wild animal to wrestle around" - well, that's precisely what Judo gives you in the form of your sparring partner. You can't ask for a workout that more completely challenges the mind-body-combination. You have no option but to learn to think with your body which is what I consider being "in the primal state"... thinking and moving all in one step.

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This is good. I recommend eating wild, raw vegan tho. Too much chemicals in the meat. also eating meat is unnatural. Pasteurized milk is poison in a can. See what works for you tho

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What about the chemicals in vegetables?

 

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Elric replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 1:45 AM

Exactly, organic vegetables are available as are animals that graze in pastures and aren't shot up with steroids.

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What about the chemicals in vegetables?

That's why you only eat raw organic vegetables, preferably wild ones.

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 1:46 AM

eating meat is unnatural

Well, that's precisely the opposite of what Primal lifestyle is all about. Our evolutionary ancestors indisputably ate meat. They were carnivores to the extent they could manage it and supplemented with nuts, berries and any other easily foraged food sources. The human body expects to eat lots of animal proteins and animal fats, along with nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables (mostly cooked). The human digestive tract is highly efficient, it expends a tiny fraction of the calories digesting its food that the digestive tract of a goat, for example, expends. This is because goats and all other animals (to my knowledge) eat raw food but we do not. The human digestive process actually begins with cooking, not when the food is inserted into your mouth. The fact that our digestive tract is so physiologically unique is evidence that we've been cooking our food for a very long time, even in evolutionary terms.

Of course, our ancestors still also ate raw food. So a portion of your diet should consist of fresh veggies and fruits - I just had a Big Ass Salad for dinner tonight - but it shouldn't be the dominant part. If you have the nerve, you can also consider eating raw animal products... certainly raw eggs and properly handled raw fish are safe to consume.

Our ancestors were "whole animal" consumers. This is a bit difficult for me since I kind of can't stomach (pun intended) the idea of eating organs... yuck. I had my experience with chicken livers as a kid with my Mom's Aunt feeding them to us kids on pain of dessert. However, I think broths and whole-bird soups (put the whole chicken in the pressure cooker and cook it, innards and all) can provide an alternative that I can psychologically deal with at this point. Maybe as I get a little older, I'll branch out. I've heard that thinly sliced cow tongue can make a great delicacy.

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Marko replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 7:43 AM

My ancestry is Nordic and I'm pretty sure they ate a very high-protein, high-fat diet so I suspect that the primal nutrition is additionally true for me. Some people may have some adapted tolerance for grains but I'm probably not one of those people.


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Marko replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 7:52 AM

I have a question about supplements. Apparently they are good for you. But there are more than one kind, and there is this thing where if you take one kind you also have to take one other kind or else the first kind won't be absorbed and then you are doing it for naught.

It's like you're supposed to take some fish oil, but then you also have to take antioxidants or else the fish oil doesn't work. And also then there is vitamin D which is good, and vitamin C that is useful...

Can somebody clear up this for me, how many supplements are there that go with paleo-diet, and especially what is an antioxidant?

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Autolykos replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 7:53 AM

To back up Clayton here, we have a whole host of physical features that only make sense in the context of a certain type of hunting, namely persistence hunting.

How persistence hunting works is like this: one or more people chase down an animal for long distances until the animal is exhausted, at which point it can be finished off. The best time to do this is during the hottest part of the day, when most animals are the least active. Our relative hairlessness and our sweat glands keep us cooler than other animals during that time of day. Also, a human being in good (if not great) physical shape has greater running endurance than any other large animal. Our bodies are actually built more for running than for walking. Finally, persistence hunting typically involves the prey animal sprinting off over the horizon multiple times during the chase. A good persistence hunter must look for clues about where the animal headed once it's out of sight. Our great intelligence could well derive in part from this requirement.

Put it all together and the evidence seems clear: our ancestors became apex predators by becoming adapted to an evolutionary niche that no other animal in Africa had exploited up to that time.

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Malachi replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 8:41 AM
Freedom4Me73986:

This is good. I recommend eating wild, raw vegan tho. Too much chemicals in the meat. also eating meat is unnatural. Pasteurized milk is poison in a can. See what works for you tho

How is it that you cannot even get primitive eating correct? Where, exactly, did you get the ridiculous idea that a human being can survive on a wild, raw vegan diet?
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Wheylous replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 8:52 AM

Yeah, how do we get all the essential proteins? Do we have a wide variety of proteins in store?

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 10:20 AM

persistence hunting

Mark Sisson presents a case against persistence hunting as the primary method by which humans obtained food sources. Clearly, it was something they did but he believes the game had to be big in order to merit such massive expenditures of energy. Instead of just blindly expending energy trying to run animals to exhaustion, we more often used our massive, energy-intensive brains to track them, surprise them and trap them.

This is why he advocates a fairly limited cardio regime... no long-duration, high-intensity cardio. This coming from a guy who was a pro marathoner in his past life. I can attest that long-duration, high-intensity cardio just doesn't feel right to me. Short bursts of sprint intensity combined with longer, moderate-intensity cardio feels more natural to me.

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 10:36 AM

Addendum: As an aside, I have a theory that this mania for long-distance running ultimately comes from the military establishment. The military is the primary consumer of endurance cardio in the form of long marches, runs, swims, and so on. The ancestral human did not have the luxury of performing feats and was not interested in performing feats... he just wanted to eat his next meal at the least cost and risk to his person.

Nevertheless, it is clear from looking at the human body that he was insanely fit. How else did we get all those highly-visible, secondary sexual features (pecs, abs, biceps, glutes, quads etc.) unless humans were engaging in sexual selection based, at least in part, on appearance?

I remember reading a book by a Marine Recon; recounting his training regimen he noted that they consumed about 9,000 calories a day. And they burnt all of it training. Their sergeants were busted-up, broken-down old men by the age of 45. There can be no doubt that this is not natural.

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Malachi replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 12:21 PM
That seems accurate based on my experience. The reason their bodies are falling apart by their mid-40s is not just killer cardio, but also poor diet and lifestyle choices, combined with hideous training philosophies. For example, in my unit, the program that we used to develop our ability to march long distances consisted of 4 workouts, each one week apart. The first week, we marched 6 miles. Next week it was 9 miles. Just two workouts into the program, we had already doubled the exercise to 12 miles. And finally, when we completed the 15 mile hump, we were done. As far as the marine corps was concerned, our unit was "subsistence march qualified" or whatever. Of course, some people got injured. These injuries were compounded by the fact that no one wants to "drop out" of a hump because even with compound fractures in both legs, shit would be talked BY YOUR SUPERIORS. There was no recognition of different abilities, periodization, goal setting, goal attainment, or injury prevention.

every time I would try to point this crap out, people told me two things: "this is the way we have always done it" and "if you dont like it, get the fuck out." so here I am.

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Bert replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 12:26 PM

Anyone who sticks to a non-conventional diet definitely has some strong will power, especially with a majority of people who may find it odd or stupid (seeing how I got that enough).  Good luck!

As for the primal diets they seem to work, I've known people to try these more meat based diets and they've lost weight (diet + exercise).  As far as health goes this is one of those things where I sort of see this vegan vs primal health thing come up, because in a way they are not that much different except on meat.  Though with all that I've read on meat I've concluded it has more negative than positive in the long run.  The thing with protein (don't quote me as absolute on this, just from the sources I've read), is that it's not as neccassary as one thinks.  If one intakes more than their daily dose it doesn't have any more beneficial results, and I've read if you intake way more than your daily dose it can have a negative reaction.  I've read that a lot of people in this country intake more protein than they need, because a lot of people eat meat daily (or more than once a day). 

As far as dairy goes you don't need it.  You could completely disregard it now and you'd probably feel better a week from now (this goes for anyone).  If you can't let go of dairy/cheese because of taste just watch some videos of where it comes from and why milk is actually harmful for your bones.

The only thing where meat/dairy may play a role in health is vitamin B12, while B12 itself is vegan it's a bacteria that can be found in meat and dairy products.  It's abundance in non-meat/dairy products is limited.

Clayton, what meats are you eating?  Seems the best in order would be fish, chicken, and then red meat (from venison to beef).

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Malachi replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 12:38 PM
Bert, how much dietary protein does the human body need?
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  • If you can't let go of dairy/cheese because of taste just watch some videos of where it comes from and why milk is actually harmful for your bones.

I grew up acrossed the street from a dairy farm, so I don't see what's really "bad" about where it comes from.  Unless you're talking about factory farms and such, but that can be avoided.  As to dairy being "bad for your bones",  Most of what I've read about it leads me to believe that claim is sensationalized.  When your body digests protein, it uses up calcium.  So when you process the protein in milk and other foods, you'll be taking calcium out of your body.  However, the calcium loss required to burn up that protien is pretty small compared to the calcium gain from the milk itself.  The real health problems from dairy often come from the high amount of fat, and the fact that most of the typical american uses of cheese also involve lots of salt.

Really, diet is interesting, but I'm not sure a radical, rigid plan is the way to go.  Your body is essentially a machine, so you go with the old "garbage-in, garbage-out".  Keep to lots of fiber, restrict salt usage, avoid sugar-bomb stuff, get a balance of fat, carbs, and protein, watch calorie intake, etc. There's various methods of achieving those goals, so if you want to go by a certain diet that's fine.  However I've always taken a loose view to dieting, in that you generally strive to achieve a good day-to-day diet, but the occasional abberation is pefectly fine.  In the same way I'll have a cigar every other week during the summer, you can fit in smoked BBQ and butter-cream icing now and again.  There's a whole science behind making food taste good, I think it's a disservice to human ingenuity to ignore that. :)

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Bert replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 12:50 PM

Bert, how much dietary protein does the human body need?

I'll cite this source,

How much protein do we need? The RDA recommends that we take in 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram that we weigh (or about 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh). This recommendation includes a generous safety factor for most people. When we make a few adjustments to account for some plant proteins being digested somewhat differently from animal proteins and for the amino acid mix in some plant proteins, we arrive at a level of 1 gram of protein per kilogram body weight (0.45 grams of protein per pound that we weigh). Since vegans eat a variety of plant protein sources, somewhere between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per kilogram would be a protein recommendation for vegans. If we do a few calculations we see that the protein recommendation for vegans amounts to close to 10% of calories coming from protein. [For example, a 79 kg vegan male aged 25 to 50 years could have an estimated calorie requirement of 2900 calories per day. His protein needs might be as high as 79 kg x 1 gram/kg = 79 grams of protein. 79 grams of protein x 4 calories/gram of protein = 316 calories from protein per day. 316 calories from protein divided by 2900 calories = 10.1% of calories from protein.] If we look at what vegans are eating, we find that between 10-12% of calories come from protein. This contrasts with the protein intake of non-vegetarians, which is close to 14-18% of calories.

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 12:57 PM

@Bert: For me, it's more of an enlightenment analogous to the one that occurred when I understood that mainstream economics had it all upside-down and backwards. Facts are facts and the facts that mainstream economists study are mostly settled, so it's not about disputing reality or evidence. Rather, it's about rejecting flawed reasoning. What do you conclude from the facts?

The typical news article covering a new economics study basically uses language that is rife with insinuations of causality while only discussing the correlations studied. The study itself never makes claims of causality (because, as statisticians, the authors know better and would never otherwise get published) but the point stands that the lessons that the average individual draws from this process are horribly flawed.

But this is exactly the same process that occurs in medical science, as well. Somebody does some research, finds a correlation that they believe is significant or interesting or merits further study, usually without taking the risk of constructing a hypothetical causal mechanism. Then, the journalists write articles like "Study finds high cholesterol puts you at increased risk for heart disease" which is a weasel-worded way of not saying that cholesterol causes heart disease while saying exactly that in ordinary language.

Medical science must be consistent with the rest of biology because all disciplines are studying the same reality. We know that humans didn't harvest grains before 10,000 years ago. Yet medical science upholds the USDA food pyramid which has grains at the base... you are supposed to be eating 6-11 servings per day! Clearly, something is amiss. Anatomically modern humans spent 190,000 years of their history not eating grains and only in the last 10,000 years have we begun to eat grains. Mark Sisson puts it in better perspective: if you include our pre-human "caveman" ancestors back to 2Mya, then you begin to see that the human diet is a protein-and-fat diet primarily derived from the consumption of animals and supplemented with whatever nuts and berries could be foraged.

The primary psychological challenge is to get over the foolish idea that eating "grease" is going to "clog your arteries." Medical science doesn't even actually claim that, yet people widely believe that's the case! Go figure that one out.

The big, unanswered question is how did we get it so wrong for so long? I never hesitate to engage in conspiracy theorizing and I think that, at least in the US, the answer is fairly simple. The big cereal industry magnates receive huge government subsidy and to keep the free money rolling in, they have been engaging in a century of intensive rent-seeking at the FDA, UDSA, medical schools, and so on. You could just wipe the bottom grain level of the USDA food pyramid off completely and you'd have a pretty good picture of what your diet ought to be. Follow the money.

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Bert replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 1:04 PM

I grew up acrossed the street from a dairy farm, so I don't see what's really "bad" about where it comes from.  Unless you're talking about factory farms and such, but that can be avoided.  As to dairy being "bad for your bones",  Most of what I've read about it leads me to believe that claim is sensationalized.  When your body digests protein, it uses up calcium.  So when you process the protein in milk and other foods, you'll be taking calcium out of your body.  However, the calcium loss required to burn up that protien is pretty small compared to the calcium gain from the milk itself.  The real health problems from dairy often come from the high amount of fat, and the fact that most of the typical american uses of cheese also involve lots of salt.

This and this.

Like all animal protein, milk acidifies the body pH which in turn triggers a biological correction. You see, calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer and the biggest storage of calcium in the body is – you guessed it… in the bones. So the very same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is utilized to neutralize the acidifying effect of milk. Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via the urine, so that the surprising net result after this is an actual calcium deficit.

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Bert,  Like I said I've seen that but there are arguments and studies on the other side also.  A reasonable intake of milk/cheese/dairy is not going to leech all the calcium from your bones. At any rate, there's a whole lot of other nutrients and protein in milk besides the calcium, and there's no consensus that the pH issues actually lead to long term bone damage.  Drinking milk solely for bone health is probably a bad idea, but at the same time it can easily be worked into a healthy diet as it has many "redeeming" qualities.

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 2:10 PM

Clayton, what meats are you eating?  Seems the best in order would be fish, chicken, and then red meat (from venison to beef).

Yes, though probably in this order: eggs, chicken, beef, fish. Over time, I want to rearrange to get this order: eggs/fish, beef, chicken.

I'm not worried about eating too much protein because I make sure to eat plenty of veggies with my meal. I think where a person gets into trouble is if they take refuge in a "high protein" diet as an excuse to avoid veggies. This is particularly bad if you're just eating meat & cheese sandwiches... you're not getting essential nutrients from vegetables and you're consuming anti-nutrients in the high-carbohydrate bread.

But my understanding of what is different about the primal diet as opposed to mainstream recommendations is not the protein but the fats. Mainstream diet recommendations promote vegetable fats and pan animal fats. Primal is the exact opposite... you should never use ordinary vegetable oils (primitive man had no access to these kinds of vegetable oils), with the exception of olive oil and certain seed oils, coconut oil, etc. But you should be consuming plenty of animal fats and not only should you be consuming more animal than vegetable fats, you should be consuming a lot more total fat than the mainstream diet recommendations suggest.

Primal diet isn't especially high-protein compared to standard dietary guidelines but it is high-fat and low-carb (zero grains). I'm experimenting with cooking veggies in lard and butter, it's interesting and new. Eventually, I hope to get ahold of some tallow (beef fat).

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 2:58 PM

I just want to make a general note that it is important to distinguish between individual affinities and tolerances for different kinds of foods and the general dietary recommendations that consist of "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts". If dairy doesn't agree with you, its health benefits are immaterial. You won't die from not consuming dairy.

Too often, dietary guidelines are issued as rigid, inflexible "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not"s. What I like about Mark Sisson's ideas (I've believed this all along) is that it's all about learning to listen to your own body. What is too much salt? However much your body thinks is too much. If you're in good health, you won't want to consume too much salt because it will start to taste bad and/or you will feel bloated and retain water. The same goes for calories... your body tells you when you need more or fewer and the key is eating a healthy, nutritious diet that permits you to "listen" to the body's signals that tell you when to stop.

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It's the grains that get a lot of people. 

I think the easy way to reduce the carb intake is to simply avoid them. Say you go to an Italian restaurant, avoid the bread that's served while you wait for your meal. For your meal, avoid the pastas. Same goes for a Mexican restaurant; avoid the chips while you wait for your meal (eat the guacamole and salsa). During your meal, don't eat the rice and beans, nor the tortillas. People will look at you crazy, but would you rather look fat or crazy?

As for drinks, avoid the sugary cocktails and, instead, go for the hardcore/manly alcohols on the rocks. Or drink ice water and squeeze some lemons into it.

Do all of the above at home as well. From there, you can go hardcore and up the quality of the food: up the fats; buy the grass-feed, free-range, organic varieties.

 

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  • During your meal, don't eat the rice and beans

Rice, avoid.  Beans?  I've always heard good things about them from low-carb diets, since they're high in fiber and most of the carbs come from that.  Several low-carb diets I've seen instruct to discount dietary fiber from your daily "cab budget".

  • As for drinks, avoid the sugary cocktails

Right on!  Although there's plenty of cocktails that aren't sugary.  I really, really wish I could say the same for my craft beer.  So delicious, but absolutely loaded with carbs.  Unfortunately that doesn't stop me from drinking them, heh.


 

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jan 12 2012 3:13 PM

would you rather look fat or crazy?

HAHAHAHA... well, I'm crazy anyway, so...

You know what, it's been easy for me to "give up" grains. I've never been one of those people who is tempted to sneak into the cupboard and grab a slice of white bread and just munch it down (I've known people who are like that... never understood it). So, maybe I got lucky genetically or otherwise but I don't really have that strong craving. The only difficulty is practical... how do you hold your food without a slice of bread to put it on? Sandwiches are awful convenient. Mark Sisson suggests using a lettuce wrapp for this. I haven't tried it yet but it sounds good enough to me!

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  •  Mark Sisson suggests using a lettuce wrapp for this. I haven't tried it yet but it sounds good enough to me!

They're pretty great, although as you may imagine that doesn't hold up too well if your sandwich has lots of sauces/condiments on it or something.  You basically just need a big peice of Iceberg lettuce.  I've tried it with romaine and others but the "spine" of the leaf is too thick and doesn't wrap well.  I'm not sure if they have Jimmy John's out by you, but they let you order any of their sandwiches in a lettuce wrap.

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