8

votes

What led you down the paleo path?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 21, 2010 at 10:16 PM

I know, it's a big question. I was just thinking about my own journey, and became curious to hear some other experiences.

I've always been "searching" for a way of eating and life that felt true to my body and soul. The big shift for me was having children, and feeling powerful instinctual understanding take hold within me. I'd say I first started parenting "paleo" before anything else; homebirth, carrying my babies constantly in a sling, sleeping with them in our bed, learning their elimination cues and leaving them diaper free, extended breastfeeding... The list goes on. I later read about the "attachment parenting" theory, and it fit some of what I did, but I always thought of it as more than that, something basic and instinctual and natural. Eventually I decided to bring the rest of my life into balance with this deep understanding, and I found Mark Sisson's book. I haven't looked back, nor have I ever felt better.

What about you? How did you get here?

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on January 09, 2012
at 11:59 PM

I love these answers. I especially like the word confluence too.

A329ac44674ac574d29d05e70e9a1f2f

(60)

on April 20, 2011
at 01:19 AM

Agreed, I've lost a lot of faith in doctors since mine plugged my height and weight into his computer and without even looking at me pronounced me overweight - by 0.1 BMI - even though I had the start of a six pack at the time. He of all people should know that BMI was created by a statistician for use over a whole population, not to be used as law on an individual basis!

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on March 04, 2011
at 09:06 PM

I like this story because it reminds me of Schopenhauer's aphorism "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on April 25, 2010
at 01:42 PM

Love the coconut oil.. Most Doctors really don't have a clue.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on April 23, 2010
at 09:48 PM

Thanks Melissa. I did send him a quick thank you email about a week after my decision. :)

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on April 23, 2010
at 04:52 PM

Thanks, everyone, for sharing! I love how varied our paths are, yet they have led us to similar places. Too bad I can't choose all of your answers!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 23, 2010
at 03:08 AM

I told John about this! I'm sure he'll be pleased to hear his appearance had an impact!

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on April 22, 2010
at 04:03 PM

Protein Power was my intro, as well.

Fab01b4dbedb2252688eb552d0071306

(216)

on April 22, 2010
at 02:29 AM

I found paleo by reading an interview with taleb, and all he talked about was Art De Vany.

  • 9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

    asked by

    (1239)
  • Views
    2.4K
  • Last Activity
    1428D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

29 Answers

5
F652b96a3bcf646d8dad56cb1d035101

(205)

on April 22, 2010
at 06:30 PM

I was (finally) diagnosed with endometriosis in 2004 and went to see a nutritionalist in the hopes of dealing with it without recourse to hormone therapies which my specialist introduced with the comforting "well, we're not sure what will work ... it won't cure it ... we'll just keep trying you on different cocktails until we find something that makes you feel a bit better" Um? No, thanks!

The nutritionalist put me on a "healthy balanced diet" which excluded dairy and caffeine and sugar etc and it really did give me a big improvement. Then two summers ago I realised in late August that my endo symptoms had been hugely better over the summer and was trying to figure out what had made the difference - we'd had good weather and had been being "lazy" with cooking - meat and fish on the BBQ with just a salad to go with - no bread, no potatoes. About the same time I saw an article on De Vany which lead me to Cordain's book. I immediately went LC but fell into the "lean meat falio" pit falls of LC coupled with low fat which worked for a time but eventually lead me to suffer terribly with regular low blood sugar attacks.

Knowing I was on the right track but at the same time doing something somehow horribly wrong I turned to the internets for research, found PaNu, had a face-palm moment when I figured out I needed some fat in my diet to run the engine and started cooking with butter, chugging double cream and using coconut oils to cook with.

Things are going a lot better ....... :0)

4
9722850c9a1c47b79edf7c4233040248

(1276)

on April 22, 2010
at 01:56 PM

The first thing was the thought, "This is not working." "This" being everything about the SAD and associated lifestyle, and especially the advice of doctors and experts.

Then, I was reading the blog portion of mises.org and they mentioned the NYT caveman article, an extremely sexed-up version of paleo, complete with bloodletting, food deprivation, raw meat, discussing Jungle Law, and crawling through the brush in central park, so I just said "pfft...what will the vegan mindset think of next?" But a commentor, possibly the great Doctor himself, put up a link for Panu, and a little more searching led me to WAPF and Taubes, and things fell into place (I already bought the low-carb thing from minor success with South Beach, but that diet had left me gassy, irritable, and tired. The permission, as it were, to cut out the fiber and load up on animal fats was the god-send part of it for me). After a few months of going down the Panu steps, it turns out I'm sensitive to industrial oils, gluten, and some nightshades, and I've self-cured my migraines, lack of energy, bad sleeping, frequent colds, mood swings, achey joints (I'm in my early 20's, so my joint problems were very premature), and killer menstrual cycles. Really, cramps felt like a knife in my uterus. My seasonal allergies have been minimal so far this spring, knock on wood. All by not listening to my doctors. When I was talking to a nutritionist about dietary sensitivities, which was completely useless, she expressed amazement at my ability to eat eggs most mornings yet have perfect cholesterol, and almost had a heart attack on my behalf when I said I cook with coconut oil.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on April 25, 2010
at 01:42 PM

Love the coconut oil.. Most Doctors really don't have a clue.

A329ac44674ac574d29d05e70e9a1f2f

(60)

on April 20, 2011
at 01:19 AM

Agreed, I've lost a lot of faith in doctors since mine plugged my height and weight into his computer and without even looking at me pronounced me overweight - by 0.1 BMI - even though I had the start of a six pack at the time. He of all people should know that BMI was created by a statistician for use over a whole population, not to be used as law on an individual basis!

4
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on April 22, 2010
at 12:55 PM

About three months ago I was a card-carrying member of the SAD general public. Though I'd of course heard of various diets (Atkins, vegetarian, vegan, South-Beach, etc) I never had any interest or inclination to try any of them. I considered Taco Bell to be a staple food source. Monster energy drinks and Mountain Dew were the way to acquire more energy.

I also occasionally watched The Colbert Report and The Daily Show (funny stuff there!) and I happened to catch Colbert's interview with John Durant. Though the interview was comical in Colbert's normal fashion, the idea John was presenting made a LOT of sense to me, you could almost say on a primal level :)

I spent the next few days doing a lot of online research and reading, then I changed everything - food, drinks, daily sunlight, started climbing trees and running barefoot, etc. I love it, I feel great, and I doubt I'll ever go back.

It's funny and awesome where one fake-news interview can lead. I love it when inspiration sneaks up on me like that.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on April 23, 2010
at 09:48 PM

Thanks Melissa. I did send him a quick thank you email about a week after my decision. :)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 23, 2010
at 03:08 AM

I told John about this! I'm sure he'll be pleased to hear his appearance had an impact!

4
Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

on April 22, 2010
at 12:15 PM

It's a long story, but basically, I've been interested in human evolution and primitive technology and bushcraft skills ever since my first anthropology courses, and wound up doing a degree in the field. And I've always been interested in fishing and hunting and outdoorsy stuff like that, not to mention wild plant identification.

Then last fall, I herniated a lumbar disc and got diagnosed with diabetes (type II, mild), and while on disability leave, stumbled across Paleo through a couple of different sources (online friend, paleodiet.org). I read the Cordain book, kicked myself for not having come up with the idea on my own, went Paleo the next day (January 28, 2010) and haven't looked back. Love the food, don't miss the f00d much, and am really loving the easy weight loss and fact that my blood glucose is normal and I went from hypertensive to having normal blood pressure inside six weeks.

And now that my back is recovering, I'm starting to work some Sisson-inspired exercise into the program.

So I'm coming at this much more from a re-enactment perspective than a nutritionist one; eating Paleo ties in with a lot of my vert Paleo hobbies and interests and a recent interest in ecopsychology, and I'm not doing it for cosmetic reasons; the main ones are getting fit and functional again, taking some weight off my back, and keeping my blood glucose and pressure under control. And I'm trying to eat locally as much as possible.

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on March 04, 2011
at 09:06 PM

I like this story because it reminds me of Schopenhauer's aphorism "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

4
56e8e22796618ea3b817d4aae19c6e33

(474)

on April 22, 2010
at 03:06 AM

I've always been interested in evolution and had reasoned out the paleolithic principle (through evolution we've adapted to our environment), but never really worked out the details. I cut out milk because it was obvious that we weren't adapted to drink other species's milk or drink milk after infancy. I figured that grains weren't an optimal food, more of a filler, but I didn't realize they were actively harmful.

Then I came across Protein Power (Eades's) and everything clicked. They were deriving a complete guide to health from the principle of evolution! From there I just kept reading and filling in the blanks.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on April 22, 2010
at 04:03 PM

Protein Power was my intro, as well.

3
242b6f51761717721115fd464834456b

(160)

on January 09, 2012
at 11:31 PM

Self-preservation!

I know I'm not going to live forever, but I want to live the best quality of life possible. Having had a lot of health troubles as a vegan, I started looking for a solution to always feeling (quite frankly) plain terrible.

I started eating a "clean" diet with whole foods, whole grains and some fish, a little bit of meat. (I haven't eaten dairy for years) but it just wasn't working... I still found that I didn't recover from exercise and generally still felt like crap. I stumbled across some advocates of Gary Taubes' work in a newspaper. I was horrified to see them advocating fat consumption so enthusiastically... after all, aren't we brainwashed to think fat makes us fat??? I was intrigued to find out more, so started reading, reading, reading and my whole ideology changed. I cut the grains, legumes and sugar and felt amazing.

There was something life changing about the simple act of consuming beef broth. I felt fulfilled, nourished and satisfied and I have enjoyed paleo eats since then.

I am also more than a little terrified of conditions like MS. My friend's mother passed away from it and it was devastating to watch her fade away. I eat paleo with the hope that it will help keep my system in check and strengthen my protection against such health problems.

3
Abb08da08e327d776926f2c9e4856582

(225)

on April 22, 2010
at 02:29 PM

I was diagnosed with a bunch of food allergies and told to cut out wheat, corn, soy, eggs, yeast, and dairy and then systematically re-introduce. I didn't know about all the sneaky gluten-free imitations of 'regular' food, so I pretty much just ate meat and veggies. Then I started reading about nutrition via CrossFit-related stuff and found out that lo and behold, this is pretty darn good for you. I lost about 25 lbs had soooooo much more energy (probably part food allergy relief part paleo benefits). I ended up not even caring if I was allergic to wheat, corn, and soy. I barely even tested them... mostly just cut them out forever and ever, amen. I've intermittently gone back to as SAD as you can get without those ingredients, but I always feel better when I keep it clean.

2
Cc7381bd787721575ea9198048132adb

on January 10, 2012
at 12:11 AM

Acne, IBS, belly fat, bloating, constipation, headaches, GERD, joint pain, dehydration, allergies, gas, fatigue and depression all gone in a very short amount of time after eating only real food. I share that story with a lot of others and I think that's why people are so passionate about this paleo thing. I guess we're selfish, we just want to feel good.

2
Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393

on January 09, 2012
at 11:57 PM

  1. My negative experiences with eating a vegan diet.

  2. A friend's positive experiences with eating a paleo diet.

  3. The horrible reaction and comments from Colin Campbell towards Denise Minger's work. Just embarrassing.

  4. Richard Nikoley's blog.

The confluence of those four things led me to where I am now, diet-wise.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on January 09, 2012
at 11:59 PM

I love these answers. I especially like the word confluence too.

2
Bcb2f5436d11467e89123680c046b858

(1356)

on April 25, 2010
at 07:52 PM

I have always leaned towards a whole-foods diet. In the past, I have experimented with macrobiotic and vegan diets, but they were too hard-core for me. I was lacto-ovo vegetarian for years, then added chicken and fish when I got pregnant and started craving protein. But no red meat, because it's full of artery-clogging saturated fat!

A few years ago, I read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan, and realized that all the reasons I had for being vegetarian (environmental, animal-welfare, health) did not apply if I ate local pastured meat. We slowly ventured into the world of beef and pork. After being mostly-vegetarian since adolescence, I had no idea how to cook meat (but I do now!).

I've tried to eat local as much as possible for the past couple of years. I did a localvore challenge last summer, and another participant had a link to Mark's Daily Apple. At the same time, I began reading "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes, and turned my diet around before I was halfway through the book. It was a life-changing eye-opener of a book! I have educated myself a lot over the past several months. I'm not perfect, but grains and sugars are a rare treat instead of the foundation of my diet as they one were. Hello meat, hello fat.

2
485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

on April 25, 2010
at 05:07 AM

In the '90s, my wife read the John Robbins book which led us to become vegetarians, then vegans, then macrobiotic. Then at Whole Foods she met a dietitian asked her to research Sally Fallon and the Weston A. Price Foundation. That changed our thinking 180 degrees. A few more intermediate steps and here I am. Also read Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar & Survival, which discusses the importance of hormones in regulating our lives, as well as fascinating other stuff including the fallacies of exercise.

2
64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5

(1343)

on April 22, 2010
at 06:40 PM

My path is here: http://wp.me/pOowz-2l

2
8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

on April 22, 2010
at 10:41 AM

It was, believe it or not, coincidence of some sort.

I was finally ready to start working out and eating right, and a week or so before this started, I saw the article in the NY Times (featuring Melissa). The Paleo concept seemed very fascinating to me, and after doing a little online reading, I went out and bought Cordain's book. I tore through it!

I started the PD and a variation of Cross-Fit (sort of a hybrid, you could call it) on January 15th and haven't looked back.

2
9e2180e7bfd688eb52d4f0c536172024

(2004)

on April 22, 2010
at 01:37 AM

Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes got me started. I just happened to run across it in the library. Here was the science behind what I had already observed of insulin's effect on my own body. That got me interested in exploring paleo nutrition.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 22, 2010
at 01:14 AM

nassim taleb. i believe the recommendations of smart people. my mother's diabetes/cancer etc.

Fab01b4dbedb2252688eb552d0071306

(216)

on April 22, 2010
at 02:29 AM

I found paleo by reading an interview with taleb, and all he talked about was Art De Vany.

1
Medium avatar

(3259)

on March 04, 2011
at 09:56 PM

It's a long and winding road. My daughter was born seven years ago. I was a 195-pound endurance "athlete" with high blood pressure and an autoimmune disease. Ironically...I watched Woody Harrelson's documentary Go Further, about riding bikes and eating a raw food vegan diet (I know...but the movie's awesome). Something about it struck a very deep chord and inspired me to want to be the best Dad I could be and meet my grandchildren. That seed of inspiration led me to Carol Sinclair's No Starch IBS Diet book, which led me to Cordain, which led me to Wolf and the rest of the amazing paleosphere, which led me to strict paleo, which brought me straight to all of you (awwww...).

I'm now a 163-pound strength and endurance athlete, super-healthy Dad (with more control over his autoimmunity), and still a big fan of Woody Harrelson (seriously...watch the movie, it's awesome).

Check it out!

1
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 04, 2011
at 09:00 PM

I purchased a Powertec leverage weight bench for my home gym. As I began to research what's the best way to truly maximize lifting the right way, I stumbled across a guy named Mark McManus. He runs a site called MuscleHack.com. His approach is extremely different from most lifters, focusing on natural nutrition and adament about being steroid free. As I began to poke around on his site, I was seeing all kinds of articles that really made me question his teachings. Stuff like... eat the egg yolk too, because the cholesterol in it is not bad for you. And then I stumbled across an article he wrote on saturated fat that was accompanied by a 3 minute youtube video feed of "Big Fat Lies", which is a fairly popular video clip to pass around. I watched it with my wife and we were both like.... ???? Seriously? Saturated fat is not bad for you? I mean, we always stayed away from hydrogenation and HFCS, and spent most of our money at Trader Joes, so we were probably doing 'better' by comparison than most folk, but I look back now and cringe. We FULLY believed that sat fat caused heart disease and made you fat, straight up.

We actually got into a brief tiff about it because she had already graduated with a Kineseology degree with an emphasis on health, fitness, and nutrition. I told her to relax and that I would dig in to find out the real truth.

I first found Kent Rieske's site Biblelife.org via a simple google search on saturated fat. Ha! I had NO idea what I was in for. That dude is way out there. I mean way out there. His site is an endless rabbit hole straight out of Alice in Wonderland. I don't agree with everything he's all about (and he's about a whole lot of stuff), but I will say that he was just strong enough in his approach that I kept reading. And there is enough good information there that at least it led me down the right track. I immediately changed everything out of fear. (I started feeling like I had multiple diseases right there in front of the computer screen.. lol). I eventually found WAPF, Stephan Guyenet, Chris Masterjohn, Chris Kresser, Dr Davis, Mark Sisson, Dr Ayers, and Dr Harris.

My view of food and eating has changed forever. Now, I can never go back.

1
C1fb8666b1ae085507a76a4c494e4f0a

on July 04, 2010
at 06:37 PM

I started low-carbing to lose weight, and someone on the low-carb forum I frequented suggested to me, based on some of my health concerns, that I may have a problem with gluten. Found out that yes, I did, so I gave it up (and dairy, on and off) and began reading voraciously about evolutionary perspectives regarding diet, etc. I didn't so much find 'paleo' as I eventually found that the way I ate had a name :)

1
1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on April 27, 2010
at 12:59 PM

I read a Clarence Bass article (www.cbass.com) years ago (around 2000 I think) on Art De Vany - Clarence is not paleo, but is ripped (and an old guy) and is highly experimental. He also had a 'success story' of a guy who went from pudgy to ripped on what looking backwards was a very paleo approach. I was interested in Art's approach and it grew from there. Then the movement sort of mushroomed with lots of other bloggers popping up.

1
F5652c7726ee903e9f55945bdf377d06

on April 26, 2010
at 08:04 PM

I battled non-stop hunger, cravings and weight gain since my sophomore year in high school (I'm 33 now). Back in 2007 a friend happened to mention that a mutual acquaintance lost a bunch of weight on Cordain's Paleo Diet. It was then that I started my research and slowly became a convert (I was one who fell for conventional wisdom hook line and sinker and absolutely abhorred the idea of going "low-carb.") I've lost over 50 pounds since then and haven't looked back. Right now I follow the PaNu concept and am feeling healthy and vibrant.

1
0614d4eb85f31154d38d9b7f36c3987f

(120)

on April 26, 2010
at 07:37 PM

I had an argument with my husband about whose teeth were better, and whose method of brushing was better. He insisted that I needed to use lukewarm water and nothing else, and rinse my mouth and teeth with it before brushing. I was using anything from cold to pretty hot, without gasp wetting my brush or my teeth...

LOL

So I googled. I found Louisa's old site and some postings on tooth soap, and Weston A. Price. I kept reading and found other blogs. I read Michael Pollan's books. I googled some more and found Whole Health Source, Free the Animal and PaNu...

Incidentally, although hubby still insists his brushing method is the right one, he is now using natural soap and baking soda for his teeth, and they are beautiful. He hasn't converted to paleo, though.

1
78ecfc8268ec58cdc189301f4b071088

(1670)

on April 23, 2010
at 01:49 AM

The NY Times article in January.

1
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on April 22, 2010
at 06:58 PM

I actually got to the diet part of the paleo lifestyle through the physical activity part.

As a physical therapist, with a long time interest in evolutionary biology and psychology, and a huge fascination for Africa, I was looking for answers to questions like: what is normal? what is good physical fitness? why is there so much chronic backpain, what is a normal posture?

It was obvious to me that evolutionary reasoning could elicit some things. And it did.

Then I found out about Evolutionary Medicine (Nesse and Hamilton and the like), and while searching the internet, I stubmled upon Art De Vany's essaye, which was a real eye opener! I probably read it 5 times to catch all the things he talked about, while constantly nodding and thinking: this makes so much sense! And of course, why didn't I think of the diet part before? (probably because I was rather fit and healthy).

And then came the websites and blogs, and the books.

And after gradually changing towards a paleo lifestyle, I suddenly went all the way.

And I'm still going!

1
A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on April 22, 2010
at 01:57 AM

I started searching online for information about calorie cycling and carb cycling based upon the recommendation of one of my Weight Watchers leaders (go figure!). Then I ran across information about ideal macronutrients. Then I ran across Mark Sisson's website and I was hooked. Previous to that, I'd tried the candida diet (with no grains) several times with good results; but never long term. So Mark's insights made perfect sense to me!

0
D687712302e0103ea52615eefc94d102

on January 10, 2012
at 05:06 PM

It was a last ditch effort in an attempt to figure out why I had all the symptoms of Lupus but it not showing up in any blood work...

I have never felt better in my life.

0
7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on January 10, 2012
at 04:15 PM

It was those vertically challenged people and that good witch Glinda. Plus I have a snazzy pair of red heels to wear... Oh wait...wrong path.

0
8c509aac21bdb54b3ca91de2da994b9b

on January 10, 2012
at 03:40 PM

researching a way to control my rosacea breakouts lead me here-there is a food intolerance/lectin connection somewhere ... plus my life long interest in nutrition and dieting-although my appearance and eating habits would have lead you to believe otherwise....plus Atkins, Protein Power, The Zone, Schwarzbein, and Seth Roberts pointed me in this direction.

0
F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on March 04, 2011
at 10:30 PM

I was led to paleo thanks to tummy trouble/food allergies/leaky gut. It hasn't helped a bit, but I became a huge fan of the paleo philosophy anyway.

0
Medium avatar

on March 04, 2011
at 09:22 PM

Reactive hypoglycemia...thank God for that. It got me off sugar and then I transitioned away from fructose and eventually cut the rest of the garbage out. I feel lucky to have had the hypoglycemic reactions to sucrose, because a lot of people just have it damage their health for years before they find out, if they even do.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!