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Going Paleo/Primal: A Two Step Process

March 27, 2012

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(Photo by Alan Cleaver)

A friend told me about an interesting conversation on the local radio station, the Beat 94.5 (sweet station, BTW). Radio hosts Kid Carson and Nira Arora were discussing dieting. Nira’s friend’s daughter (11 years old) wanted to copy her mom and diet to lose weight. Kid responded that people should eat healthy all the time rather than eating junk 24/7 only to occasionally go on a “healthy eating” diet. I couldn’t agree more. A diet is temporary. That’s one reason why paleo/primal shouldn’t be referred to as a “diet”. You don’t go off paleo – it really is a permanent lifestyle change. That’s why dieters’ weight yo-yo’s. As soon as you quit the diet, the weight creeps back on (if you even lost any in the first place).

The only problem is, eating “healthy” as per conventional wisdom doesn’t jive with eating “healthy” as per paleo/primal. So many people who eat “healthy” still end up overweight. These healthy eaters then either a) turn to dieting, which in their case most often ends up being calorie restriction or b) throw in the towel thinking they’re just meant to be overweight (blaming genes). Neither option leads them towards better health or a smaller waistline in the long run.

It’s to be expected that people who overeat and eat crap tend to be overweight. What’s frustrating to watch is people who truly care about their health and are trying their best to take care of themselves and their families, but just don’t have the right information. They rely on the food pyramid and doctors, and blame themselves for their yogurt not being low-fat enough or not logging enough hours on the treadmill.

Sadly, seeing the light is often a two-step process. Step 1, stop eating junk and start eating “healthy”. And when that fails, step two, search for what “healthy” really means. It’s just like with alternative medicine, which people tend to seek out only once conventional medicine has failed them. People could save a lot of time, health, and frustration if they skipped that intermediate step. Hopefully as paleo/primal becomes more widespread,  more people will be able to benefit from taking a direct route to health  rather than banging their heads against conventional wisdom (oxymoron) or even worse, giving up altogether.

What journey did you take to reach your current health approach?

Shared with Real Food Wednesdays and The Healthy Home Economist.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Doug S. March 27, 2012 at 9:17 AM

It took about a dozen doctors and a diagnosis of “it must be your genes” that turned me to find that the “inflammation” source of disease – with too many carbs (of any kind) at it’s source. That caused me to read “Why We Get Fat”, “Calories In, Calories Out”, “The Paleo Solution”, “The Primal Blueprint”, and “Free The Animal”. After consuming all of these, I reached my own conclusion. Not a single person in the Health Care Industry questioned my (previously) vegetarian diet.

Interestingly, I have a friend who’s a dietitian and a recent Paleo convert. She finds herself in a no-win situation. Tell people the truth and be out of a job, or stick with the standard “law of Thermodynamics” model of weight control and be unable to live with herself.

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admin@primalist March 28, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Hi Doug, thanks for sharing your story. If it weren’t so dangerous, it’d be funny how doctors not only don’t question a vegetarian diet, but are actually likely to encourage it.

As for your paleo nutritionist friend, what if she started her own practice? From what I’ve heard, that allows for much more freedom.

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Elizabeth March 27, 2012 at 4:29 PM

First, it was discovering that I had a gluten intolerance … good bye bread, pasta, and quesadillas, most of the time. After a year of that, my husband learned that HE has a wheat sensitivity (beer is ok in small doses, lucky man), and we went lo-carb. Four months into that, and reading Mark’s Daily Apple, he decided he wanted to take things a step further, and cut out all grains, sugars, and legumes. Tada! We’re Primal. It’s been three full months, and we’re thinner, fitter, and more energetic than we ever remember. I broke down a couple of weeks ago and ate a snack bag of cheetos and drank a coke…. not worth it. Didn’t even like them anymore. Never. Going. Back.

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admin@primalist March 28, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Good for you and your husband! :) Very few people go back. The science is there, as are the results, and the food is delicious – why would you?

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