on June 26, 2011
at 07:23 PM
Well I could probably go through that and pick it apart, but I'll just offer my thoughts on inclusion/exclusion of certain foods and the general rationale for deciding what is what. I do agree on a less absolutist and ideological approach than some advocate, the degree of restriction is going to depend upon a person's goals.
I think that we should be eating more of the foods that we are better adapted to and less of the ones we less adapted to. Do you like oatmeal but it damages your microvilli? Eat some oatmeal, 3 times a week if you have no autoimmune problems or anything else. Let's not try to say it's a particularly good food, though. Whole grains have good amounts of minerals, some of them aren't absorbed well but that can be improved through preparation techniques. That doesn't mean that they're good foods, it just means that they look good in comparison with their refined counterparts. In a population that has a magnesium deficiencies maybe grains will look good, but we don't need grains for magnesium, it is just that they happen to be the best source of magnesium in a Western population.
Paleo's problem is that it isn't called Evolutionary Nutrition. Applied evolutionary nutrition is the framework wherein we define the foods that we are best or worst adapted to eat. It places certain foods on a continuum of biological compatibility based upon the way we digest and metabolize foods as a whole and their nutrients. It factors in the types of nutrients we rely upon (not just essential nutrients but those that we can't quite produce enough of for optimal health) and it identifies nutrients or toxins in foods that we can only handle certain amounts of. The ridiculous nonsense that Dieticians seem to engage in doesn't really look at the body as the product of evolution, it operates on a bizarre postmodern metaphysics of health based upon an arbitrarily defined state of "balance" which has more to do with the foods available than with the human body. It will occasionally dabble in the realm of the biological mechanism in nutrition and pathology but the entire methodology is weak and it is like taking shots in the dark. Same goes for many ancient and ideological ways of eating, their merits aside. Evolutionary nutrition will produce the most good hypotheses, no doubt in my mind.
For a good example I recommend The Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet. They don't necessarily call it evolutionary nutrition this but they practice something similar to it and praise Paleo. A quick example of adaptation to nutrients: ruminants have the ability to convert linoleic acid to palmitic acid and thus they spare themselves a lot of grief with a very high PUFA diet, humans are not so lucky, we can force so much of our omega-3 out of our cells with omega-6 that we can succumb to imminent inflammatory death (of course you know this, some people don't). Also I suppose birds vs. humans in handling grain lectins is another issue. The fact that we can't eat grass like a cow is an extreme example, it just dunt digest well. There is a polymorphism for beta-carotene->retinol conversion, some people need dietary retinol. I wouldn't be surprised if there was variability in all sorts of others nutrients' metabolism. Carnitine, carnosine, creatine, choline? Why is a vegetarian diet so hazardous to some whereas other people don't tend to see the same imminent doom with it? Your genotype. So evolutionary nutrition not only deals with species-specific adaptations but also with intra-species adaptations. In that I agree with this metabolic typing guy, although I think that the book The Metabolic Typing Diet is bunk and especially lacking sound dietary advice.
on June 26, 2011
at 07:43 PM
Nicely done, Stabby. The bottom line for me on this is "to each his own" and, in light of that truth, it is thus up to the individual to do their own homework and figure out what works for them. America's growing inability to handle themselves - across all compartments of life - is becoming an epidemic.
on June 26, 2011
at 07:22 PM
I like what he said about nutritional dogma being confusing and restricting and I totally agree that we each have to find what works for us based on our past abuses, our present situation and our goals.
I also totally agree with the use of the man in the cave picture, although he made it difficult to concentrate on the words.
Thanks for sharing this!
on July 01, 2011
at 09:07 AM
His interpretation is similar to mine, albeit in a different way.
(Note: the following is all based on my personal experiences.)
Pre paleo I was always the one eating the remainders in our cooking pots and pans, finishing of a big bag of potato chips whenever I saw one, always being hungry/craving...
After just one month of paleo my relationship with food had been fixed; now I just eat what I want whenever I feel like it.
I think I can trust my body now when it comes to food.
When I do feel like eating something non-paleo, I give in to it, but, to be quite honest, this does not happen a lot. Usually a small quantity is satisfying, as opposed to the huge piles I used to have.
I just like being pragmatic about the paleo lifestyle. I tend to avoid most of the processed food, and that is about it. In social occasions with non-paleo people, I just eat whatever they are having, although I might favor the things that are more paleo-like over things like sugar/bread/potatoes etc. Or I just have a bigger breakfast/lunch, so I can skip lunch/dinner...
Another big plus is that I finally got rid of IBS, I think I might have had an intolerance for gluten. I had this for about 3 years, I even opted for some different clients in my business because my doctor said the IBS might have been due to stress...
I think everyone is making this paleo lifestyle way to difficult; in the first month it might be a good idea to be quite strict, so you can unlearn eating habits and adapt to your new lifestyle.
For example, I recall eating tons of paleo-food in the beginning because I needed my stomach to feel filled, but that habit had disappeared completely after about a week.
It also gives you some time to find out how to replace your SAD breakfast/lunch breaks etc with something more acceptable.
Next to this, you also begin to realize how much processed food one usually does consume (Both my wife & kids still eat non-paleo).
And after about one month, you will probably have some people asking you why you are looking so healthy, which might be a good motivator.
I assume that after one month of paleo most people will feel in their comfort zone again, and after that the paleo thing will just come naturally.
In my opinion people should loosen up; if you have unlearned your SAD eating habits, you are probably about 90% there.