scratch-mark

A Reader Question

Here's one that I think applies to a whole lot of folks. They know, but practice is tough.

I stumbled across your web-site a few months back and must say that I find it thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking.

I am 43 yrd old married father of a nine month old-daughter who is frightened to death of dying prematurely of heart disease and yet I am still unwilling or unable to make lasting changes in my lifestyle to lessen the chance of this occurring. Being 5' 7.5" tall and weighing 242 is not healthy w/a cholesterol level of 302 with a BMI over 35 is a far cry from my days of being athletic while playing football.

The ironic twist to this sad tale is that I have been an avid reader of nutrition & Exercise related materials since I was 15 yrs old, I am very knowledgeable but even I am completely confused as to what to eat!! Who else reads the Paleolithic Prescription at 18 for fun and went to school to be a nutritionist!! Who's right? Is the AHA, Cleveland Clinic, Cholesterol Fascists, etc? Or is it the people such as Weston Price, Sally Fallon, Mary Enig, Udo Erasmus, and Ussi Rasnikov and their beliefs on what is the determining factor(s) in heart-disease?

I guess I am reaching out to you, do in part, because you come across as a sincere, intelligent, honest man trying to provide quality information whom I am seeking advice from. Any information that you may have in taking that 1st step in the right direction, what to focus on, where people are making the biggest mistakes and what further reading would you suggest would be extremely helpful.

Wow.

There's a lot of ways I could tackle this, but I'm going to do so from the perspective of my own experience. But, first, the who's right question: nature and human evolution are right. Most simply: to accept that dietary saturated fat from animals higher than 10% of calories causes high cholesterol causes heart disease, stroke, death is to ignore and reject the whole logic of the evolution of species. It is arrogant and ignorant at the same time, with predictable results: people die early.

This is how arrogant these killers are, and I mean that: we are now several decades into them offering advice that is literally killing and debilitating people and I am never going to shy away from that. It is the very prescriptions they have offered to cut healthful, natural fats, preplacing them with fats created from what used to be industrial waste, all wrapped up in refined sugar and "healthywholegrains," that has created this obesity, diabetes, heart disease epidemic, now progressing even to children.

Paleo or modified Paleo is a principle. This should never be forgotten, downplayed, nor should an opportunity be missed to contrast it with all other diet prescriptions. The paleo principle begins with an observation: animals, in the wild. What do you see? Provided their environment is suitable to their biological requirments, they thrive in pristine health. They are simply living in accordance with their natures. "Man is the only animal that can sink below his own nature" — Ayn Rand. And while modern civilization provides us many means and choice to produce and create for ourselves environments to sustain us when a natural one is lacking (bridges, dams, homes, skyscrapers, airplanes, gardens, etc., unlike wild animals), it also provides us the means and choice to ignore or reject our natures. Unfortunately, the choice we lack is whether or not we'll have to live the consequences.

So, for that part, I suspect you know plenty enough to have confidence in a natural, paleo, primal, evfit — or even a low-carb or WAPF lifestyle.

So what's stopping you? You are. Nobody but yourself. While the fear of early death is a powerful force, let's face it: most people don't actually die young, even those who abuse their bodies. So, it's not like overweight people in their 40s are dropping like flies all around you and you're just gonna ignore it.

It's probably more like my own experience. Life just catches up with you.

I began seeing the weight creep in the early 90s and I knew all about Atkins. I even knew it worked, and I have never in my life worried about eating animals or whatever fat happens to come with them. I grew up on good home cooking, by far and large real food. I tried Atkins at least a half-dozen times over the years, and probably six weeks and 15 pounds was the best I ever got out of it, and in months I'd have gained it all back, with interest.

What changed? I wish I new. I just finally got fed up one day, went to the gym, signed up with a trainer and started pushing weight around twice per week for 30 minutes each. That was May 2007, two years ago this month. I mildly watched what I ate, but I was of the mistaken belief that I could do it mostly by exercise with a little attention to diet, while it's the reverse that's true. But, I kept with the workouts, felt better, looked better, clothes fit better. I was losing a pound per month and getting stronger. It was about 4-5 months later that I really began to tighten up eating and my fat loss doubled. Then, a couple of months later I incorporated intermittent fasting. That was the single thing that made me connect all the dots and really understand human beings as animals.

You might have to do some fasting to see what I mean, so I'll just say that it's in our natures to be hungry fairly often, and the paleo way of eating ensures that this hunger is natural and invigorating rather than nauseous and debilitating when one exists off processed foods and refined sugars.

So, I suppose that my advice would be to pick one of the three aspects and get going: workouts, food, or fasting. When you see good results with the first, add another.

As to confusion over what to eat, here's a good rule of thumb: could you eat it raw if you had to? If the answer to that is yes, then you're a go. If the answer is no (grains, sugar cane, industrial waste chemically processed into "food?"), then keep away.

For reading, there's a few important links on my Overview page. I actually just updated that yesterday to add Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint 101 page, which is a tremendous resource.

Does anyone else have any comments, advice, experience or inspiration to offer this reader?

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

31 Comments

  1. Lute Nikoley on May 20, 2009 at 16:48

    Yes, I have no problem in saying that it works for me. I started about 6 months ago, weight 208. Now at my last weighing, 176. I am off statins & acid reflux meds. Today I lifted my fifth wheel hitch onto my pick-up truck bed, which I couldn't do 2 years ago and then never tried again until today. Was it heavy and hard to do? you bet, but I did it anyway. Oh yeeah, I am also 71 years old, and proud to be Richard's dad.

  2. David on May 20, 2009 at 17:26

    Good answer, Richard.

    Here's my thoughts for the fellow asking the question.

    Obviously you got into your current condition through a combination of what you eat, how much you eat and what you do (or don't) for exercise. Here's the obvious. Keep doing the same and you'll continue down the same path, at least as fast. if you figure you're 60-80 lbs overweight now, you'll be another 60-80 lbs heavier in 10 years. So here's something obvious … change what you eat, change how much you eat, change your exercise. Now, we all know that is easier said than done. After all we eat the amount that we do because we're hungry. Overweight people have a hard time exercising, because they're overweight. I think the place to start is with WHAT you eat.

    Start with the easy changes. Dump all fructose that is not in fruit. That means dump soda. Dump almost every breakfast cereal. READ the ingredients of stuff you buy. If it includes sugar, high fructose corn syrop, corn solids et cetera … DO NOT buy it. Google on how the body metabolizes fructose, how it goes straight to abdominal fat, how it does not give you any sense of fullness, and what abdominal fat does to your body and your liver in particular. That should motivate you.

    Dump anything made with any kind of fat or oil identified as hydrogenated or modified.

    If you do that it will make a huge difference.

    Next consider dumping grains. It took me about 5 years to admit that it was worth trying. I have never looked back. It was hard to do, but like quitting smoking, it is fantastic afterwards.

    Learn about how to reset your hormones, such as insulin and leptin. They are way out of balance now. I know this because you are overweight.

    Once the weight is coming off and once you purge the crap out of your diet, you will feel more energy and will be able to exercise.

    Cut fructose and work on your hormones and you'll start feeling full after eating.

    These are all simple things but they are up to you. YOU have to make a change. Right now just about any change would be better than carrying on with your current path. Good luck and keep writing here for support. Richard has collected some good people here,

    David

  3. Patrik on May 20, 2009 at 17:50

    ****Who's right? Is the AHA, Cleveland Clinic, Cholesterol Fascists, etc? Or is it the people such as Weston Price, Sally Fallon, Mary Enig, Udo Erasmus, and Ussi Rasnikov and their beliefs on what is the determining factor(s) in heart-disease?*****

    It is easy for anyone to say: I am right. Here is why. Also, humans have a tendency to try and split the difference as in "I don't know who is right, let's just agree that both parties are 50% right".

    This, I think, in evaluating fitness/health/life philosophy is incorrect.

    Here is what I use to evaluate Paleo versus Conventional Medicine/Fitness. Use at your own risk.

    1) What is the underlying framework that any specific advice rests on?

    Modern medicine/fitness almost completely ignores evolution. I think this is wrong as "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodosius_Dobzhansky

    2) Cui bono?

    Modern medicine and pharma. Don't get me wrong, I am for Free Markets and I do think that pharma has done a lot — but in some cases, the incentives are not aligned correctly.

    3) So-called studies and "science"

    Again, don't get the wrong impression. I use reason and logic to arrive at my conclusions about Paleo BUT I'd advise reading this post when it comes to evaluating "studies":

    http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2005/09/why_most_publis.html

    ****There is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims. However, this should not be surprising. It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false.****

    BTW cui bono is also relevant when it comes to "science". Do you think that "scientists" aren't subject to confirmation bias?

    3) Very important. A healthy amount of both empiricism and skepticism. Is Paleo working for you?

    My experience: it has changed my life. I wish I been raised this way.

    Aside from the empirical aspects of Paleo — there is much conjecture. We don't know what the Paleolithic was like.

    For example, the debate over sat fat in the Paleo community. (Personally, I don't think it is harmful and suspect it is healthful. But Loren Cordain could certainly be right and I could be dead wrong.)

    Are we, right at this very point, getting some things 100% wrong? We sure as hell are.

    But so is Western Medicine. Again, don't get me wrong. If I am in a car accident, get me to a emergency room, use all of western medicine, pharma incuded, and fix me up stat!

    I don't know if that helps — but this is how I view epistemological questions of who is right and why they are.

    My recommendation: Get off your ass, suck it up and try it. Stop pussyfooting.

    If it doesn't work after an honest effort, 3 months or so, nothing is stopping you from going back to the ostensible healthy Standard Government Recommended Diet.

  4. Patrik on May 20, 2009 at 17:52

    For the record, if it is not clear, I view all studies suspiciously — most importantly, the ones that confirm my bias for Paleo!!!!

  5. Brock on May 20, 2009 at 19:33

    I think my experience is relevant. I read Ray Audette's Neanderthin over ten years ago, but have been on and off the diet as I let things slip, and I gained weight too. I knew what I should have been doing, but didn't do it.

    This is a mental/emotional issue, not a knowledge issue. You're probably using the wrong motivational techniques to try to get yourself to comply with the program. Lots of people do that, and it ultimately backfires as surely as a Jenny Craig meal plan.

    My suggestion is that you get a good book on personal motivation. If you want some advice on that, I've read dozens and the hands-down best book on the subject I've come across is Awaken Your Strongest Self. I recommend it to everyone looking to adopt new habits.

    Also, once you've got your head in the game, do what works for you. If you need some carbs, there are "safe" carbs like sweet potatoes and fermented brown rice. Get used to making your own meals too, as eating out is really hard. I also recommend Matt Stone's 180 Degree Metabolism and 180 Degree Kitchen for really walking you through the process of changing "180 degrees" from normal American to healthy eater. There's great books.

  6. Patrik on May 20, 2009 at 19:47

    Wow. Thanks. I value that compliment coming from you. Had I known it was going to strike chord, I would written a bit slower, and used a bit better grammar and style.

    But that is the beauty of blogging/commenting.

  7. Patrik on May 20, 2009 at 19:50

    @Lute

    What is very admirable is that you are willing to try a new "paradigm". I have mentioned Paleo to my Dad, who is very intelligent, and he cannot get past bread being unhealthful ergo won't even consider Paleo.

    Cheers!

  8. Taddy on May 20, 2009 at 19:55

    If you can't get in better health for yourself, then stop being selfish and do it for your daughter.
    I am in better health today from following a very low carb diet for several years. I have also lost 60 lbs. Oh I am also going through breast cancer for the second time in two years. Still following the same diet. I will fight to my death to beat this and think that you would also. Life is a gift and you are throwing the only thing GOD gives us away. Ask yourself why? My cancer is not curable, only treatable. I am fighting a war, but I will in the long run loose my battle. You have got to fight you can win your battle.
    I am a healthy woman but for cancer, you be a healthy man. Stop thinking of you. Star thinking of the people that need and love you. They are what makes my fight easier. Give it a try.

  9. Arlo on May 20, 2009 at 20:55

    Thanks for this post… just at the time I need it.

    I can identify for sure. After trying to take care of my health, body and mind, for a long time I feel like I am on the verge of a breakthrough! Why? Some subtle combination of events and thoughts in my life, finding that with each attempt I do like the change, despite falling back into old unhealthy habits (sloth, alcohol, refined foods).

    Regardless, I've known what I want to do, paleo + compound strength training + IF, for a while now, and I have made attempts but only gotten so far. Each time though I have felt better and better and adjusted better to the initial shock to my body.

    Starting tomorrow I am back on it again and I'm so excited.

    Big things I noticed were things that you couldn't even guess before. For example, after cutting out sugars and other non-veggie carbohydrates, real foods just taste so much more amazing. It's almost like the carbs, for me at least, were blunting the other flavours. Red peppers, as an example, I hated raw only a few months ago. Now they are my "apple".

    The other things I never expected, without even trying to do IF yet, is that after adaptation I'm much more in tune, as you say, with my hunger, and the "craving" "I need it!" aspect lightens up as well. I'd go from eating fast food a few times a week to eating well and exercising and have "a fry" when my friend gets them. With no craving to eat more. It's absolutely incredible once you hit the breakthrough point. I can't wait to get there again.

    Not to mention my mouth feels FANTASTIC on paleo. 🙂

    Thanks for all the great posts, Richard.

  10. Erik on May 20, 2009 at 21:43

    You got it right with "unwilling," but not "unable." It's up to you, man. And you've been keeping up with paleo/Weston Price literature since age 18? Man. What's stopping you?

    I first happened upon paleo when I rescued a flat-coat retriever puppy from a trailer park in Escondido. The guy was undernourished and I, of course, rushed to the nearest Petco for a bag of Nutro-Max. Lamb flavor, I believe. "Flavor" shoulda tipped me off. Anyway, he didn't react well. Loose stool, runny nose, sluggish temperament. Something was wrong, and I figured it just might be diet. I was just an English major in school, but I knew the basics of evolution – and I just kinda figured "Hey, this dog is, for all intents and purposes, a wolf. Wolves don't cook and process their meals. Why the hell is he eating all these polysyllabic ingredients?"

    I did a bit of digging around online and found that entire communities had sprung up around raw, ancestral feeding. Raw meat, bones, organs. It made perfect sense, and Charlie (my pup) agreed. Shiny coat, boundless energy, white teeth – it worked to perfection.

    I got to thinking that maybe the same sorta dietary concept could be applied to all animals. Maybe even, or especially, humans. I'd been putting on a fair amount of weight, having ballooned up to 235 lbs at age 25 (with a fair amount of muscle underneath, but still…), and I figured something new (or ancient) might work.

    It did. I dropped the grains, the legumes, and most of the starches, upped the fats and protein, and started paying attention to everything I ate. I also dropped the body fat. Thanks to blogs like Richard's and Mark Sisson's and Stephan's, I got into Weston Price and all the fat soluble vitamin stuff. Cod liver oil, activator X, raw dairy. This way of eating/living/behaving/moving works so flawlessly it feels like magic. The way vitamins D, A, and K2 work in concert to heal cavities and regulate calcification? Absolutely insane. Such elegant simplicity. Such beauty. Nature wins again.

    How can you see the evidence, read the testimonials, acknowledge the millennia of real world case studies that support it – and still reject the paleo way? I can understand if you were ignorant of this stuff, but you've been reading about it for decades! C'mon! I'll echo a previous commenter and say, "Give it three months."

    Three months of fatty steaks, coconut milk curries, and handfuls of macadamia nuts. Heaping salads with feta and olive oil dressing. Roasted chicken, crispy skin, organs, and all. The odd fast. A few days of intense workouts every week, no more than forty five minutes per session. Dust the cobwebs off those old football muscles! Go for a hike every once in awhile. Play with your kid (once she's walking). Hell, I sometimes use my (now full-grown) retriever as a mobile, asymmetrical weight. You could do the same with your kid if cautious (I'm no parent, so perhaps I suggest heresy). No weights or gym membership? Check craigslist for a cheap set or buy sandbags from the hardware store. Bodyweight is good enough, too; when I was heavy, one of the advantages was built in resistance training.

    While I don't appreciate the clunky foot cocoons they peddle, Nike had it right with "Just do it." So, yeah: do it, man. Good luck (though you won't really need it… it's all just so easy).

  11. Richard Nikoley on May 20, 2009 at 17:51

    Well, I'm immensely proud — though I don't show it nearly often enoug

  12. Jessica on May 20, 2009 at 17:54

    Lute, your post warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Jonathan on May 20, 2009 at 18:15

    I will speak of my experience. I've been on anxiety medication for the exact same fear. One month ago I weighed 278 pounds and I stand at an even 6 ft. I knew about paleo for about six months, but I didn't really give it a go until March 14th. The switch was easier than I thought, although there were a few days where I found myself extremely fatigued. I started losing weight immediately, so I was encouraged to continue. I've dropped over 20 pounds so far and just this week I've been noticing a new level of energy and feel great.

    I forgot to mention that I have/had GERD and an ulcer. In the past two weeks I haven't had a single issue. I feel awesome and I still have a long way to go. I'm mainly losing the weight so I can be there for my son and do things with him. Now, I can see that I will have the energy and fitness level needed. I have been playing kickball and golf and walking and doing short little sprints just on a whim as of late. Its actually very wierd to feel so good that I want to get up and move like that. I used to dream about being active, but the thought of activity scared me, because I thought I would go into a panic attack. That fear is still kind of there but it is fading fast.

    It took me a while to take the leap, but if I could have had just a taste of this new level of energy (and zest?) I would have started this long ago. I'm listening to my body now and it say it likes this new lifestyle.

  14. Richard Nikoley on May 20, 2009 at 18:18

    I must certainly blog this. My vote for best FTA comment ever.

  15. George on May 21, 2009 at 02:12

    Indeed, it’s NOT only about knowledge, otherwise this reader wouldn’t be in that unhealthy state…"enough is enough" was for me the trigger to seek for a solution (weighing 106 kilograms, 187 cm, man), but I had to struggle thru all these opinions of all those so called authorities; but I never gave up. I tried from vegan to fasting and pills and methods etc etc, all I got was ups and downs, until Paleo, IF and EF (EF: Arthur De Vany, finally somebody who’s not going with the crowd, very intelligent and an original, independent thinker and an example of healthy aging): I saw somebody who’s older than 40 and healthy (samo for Mark Sisson and Richard)who follows indeed some principles and NOT those stupid prescriptions or some new invented insight or product. Being 58 years myself I couldn’t take example of all those 20 year old guys in Men´s Health etc. I do believe in nature and her principles. Nature can´t be wrong, because that’s all we’ve got. I also got motivated because being that fat was not congruent with my self image. My self image was somebody who is lean, aging healthy, congruent with nature (that’s why I love to run barefoot in nature, see http://www.oerlopen.nl for some experiences with that non-linear way of moving), and that also kept me motivated to look for something what really works for my whole and rest of my life! because that's what I found somewhere down the line: NO methods!!! because a method is rigid, unnatural, and something you want to stop after you reach a goal (like a certain weight). Paleo, IF and EF (and for me also mindfulness = among other things, visiting a place of freedom and joy in my consciousness, hard to describe)are to me freedom, one of my highest values. What also keeps me motivated are blogs of Richard, Art, Mark, Jimmy Moore and some other ones, they just share their thoughts, theories and especially their every day experiences. I neatly listed them in my Google reader, so I just have to visit Google reader to see if there's something new and interesting!

  16. Patrik on May 20, 2009 at 20:30

    @Taddy

    Keep fighting and check out the German Wurzburg High Fat Treating Cancer Study:

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1662484,00.html

    Hyperlipid!

  17. freeagent on May 21, 2009 at 04:06

    To the blogger,

    This is my second time around treading the paleo path. The first time whilst in Afghanistan the absence of suitable fats and my lack of knowledge on thier importance led to a crash, sugar addiction found it's way back into my life with the reintroduction of beer upon returning home. After 12 months I replaced the 30lbs I lossed and then some.

    Investigating further my initial failure with the help of Primal/Paleo/fitness leaders like Richard, Mark Sission, Art Devany and Clarance Bass the answer became clear and simple.

    Like eating an elephant it is done one mouthful at a time. First eat quality whole foods (If god did not make it don't take it) Beat that sugar addiction, beer was a weakness of mine. I beat beer whilst maintaining social interaction with friends by drinking vodka and soda water, in reasonable moderation. Beer now spikes my blood sugar so much it's not pleasurable to drink. I beat sugared coffee with unsweetened tea,train your taste buds they will adapt. First master eating the right foods then you will want to exercise.

    Start out steady lift heavy things a couple times a week and move anyway you see fit while ensuring you enjoy life, as Art says make it your play.

    When you feel stable and strong with your food choices then start to consider how much you eat and then you may wish to begin intermittent fasting.

    I am 40 and in the army and now keeping up with younger people while my fitness increases, often to thier dismay.

    I keep motivated by visiting this magnificent site and the too few like it. you don't need luck because you have choice. All the best to you fellow cave people

  18. Zach on May 21, 2009 at 04:06

    You mentioned Mark's website as a great resource. I would mention Arthur De Vany's, as well.

  19. AndrewS on May 21, 2009 at 09:06

    I found that knowing motivational techniques was handy but wasn't getting me over the hump. The strongest motivation I find now is in reading how unhealthy some foods are. Every time I read an article about lectins or WGA or the effects of carbs on insulin and body fat, it's a reminder to not eat that stuff. The more I read about paleo, the more I'm reminded to eat healthy!

    I'm now at the point that wheat is still tempting, on occasion, but I have no problem resisting that temptation. Donuts in the breakroom? Pass. Kolaches? Pass. Cinnamon-sugar coffee cake? Pass. Sandwiches, pasta, bread? No problem! Why would I want to eat that crap?

    When you believe that wheat is truly unhealthy, you should have no problem staying away from that. So I suggest focusing on your beliefs; make sure you find *evidence* for what you believe. I find no better motivation than truth.

  20. Aaron Blaisdell on May 21, 2009 at 10:26

    I'm not 100% paleo (more like 80/20 as discussed on Mark's Daily Apple), but definitely can relate to how certain craving-trigger foods now have little to no appeal. My wife came home last week with a happy meal for my daughter (I know, I know…) and she handed me the bag of fries. Fries have long been a weakness of mine. If they had been fried in tallow I think I would have downed them, but since they have been drenched in vegetable oil, I ate one or two fries then dumped the rest of the bag. What an exhilarating feeling to be freed from those cravings!

  21. Richard Nikoley on May 21, 2009 at 09:34

    Wow. Amazing comment. I think I'll post it, probably along with excerpts from other great ones.

  22. Patrik on May 21, 2009 at 16:48

    Your dog story strikes a chord.

    A few years back, my in-laws' dog was sickly, had loose stool, etc etc

    The vet said, there is nothing wrong with him, just don't feed him dog-"food". As they own two restaurants in Europe, and are affluent, he recommended they feed the dog game meats.

    My mother-in-law says the dog transformed almost overnight. In fact, the dog overwhelmingly prefes game meat to any other food. If there is dry food in his bowl with the meat, he will eat around the dry food. Not surprising, is it?

    Granted, they have access to game meats, own a restaurant that serves a lot of game, and have the money — but the principle still holds.

    *****raw, ancestral feeding. Raw meat, bones, organs.*****

    BTW I suspect that this is one of the reasons that dogs were one the first animals that we domesticated, before the advent of agriculture I assume.

    Namely, they helped guard our tribe, and hunt animals. When we made a kill, it was easy to throw them some meat, especially meat we didn't value. A symbiotic relationship developed. Both dogs and humans leverage each others' strengths:

    Humans: Brains and hunting weapons
    Dogs: Nose and ears

    = more successful and less risky hunting.

  23. Patrik on May 21, 2009 at 16:51

    Interesting. I loved beer. Especially a good wheat beer.

    Having avoided beer for a long time, beer also dramatically spikes my insulin that, like you eloquently say, it is not a pleasure to drink anymore.

    These days I will drink a half glass of wine now and then, and if I am at a social function and *required* to drink, I will indulge in a Jameson on the rocks. Although, vodka might be more Paleo.

  24. Richard Nikoley on May 21, 2009 at 09:56

    Actually, there's a link to Art's EvFit essay on the Overview page I linked.

    Having Art's best material now behind a paid subscription complicates matters in so far as recommending it to readers, and I think Mark's site is a better general resource for beginners or strugglers.

  25. AndrewS on May 22, 2009 at 07:36

    There are different Vodkas. Most are grain-based, such as Stoli (wheat) or Skyy (corn), and despite distillation might still contain sufficient lectins to be troublesome. Some vodkas are based on other plants, like potato (Chopin or Monopolova) or grapes (Ciroc), which might be better-tolerated. I think generally mead, wine, or tequila would be better alcohols than beer or the other hard liquors, which are almost entirely grain-based.

  26. Todd on May 24, 2009 at 07:14

    I'm coming into this conversation rather late so I hope you still read my comment. I was in your very situation about five years ago when my daughter was under a year. In fact, my doctor called me on my cell phone while I was in the delivery room with my wife to tell me that my LDL was alarmingly high. For several years I deliberated. I knew I could lose weight by low-carb (this was before I'd ever heard of Paleo/Primal) but how could all the "conventional wisdom" be wrong? I fell victim to believing sensationalized media accounts of "studies" purporting to show the dangers of low-carb diets. Afterall, I may be able to lose some quick weight but shouldn't I come back to my "healthy whole grains" for optimal health? So for several years I yo-yo'd. I'd cut carbs way down and lose some weight at the beginning of every year. Then I'd do the natural thing and re-introduce some whole grains about April or May. I'd start with some Kashi GOLEAN Crunch. I loved that stuff and by "conventional wisdom" standards, it should be quite healthy. I'd add some whole wheat pasta, 12 grain bread, etc… My weight loss would stop. Then by the time the holidays came around, I would be fully sugar/carb addicted again with no will power to resist all the comfort foods I'd grown up on. So by the end of December, I'd have gained everything back and then some. You'd think I would have learned after a couple years but for me it took a bigger wake up call. I hope that it doesn't take this for you.

    In the fall of 2007, I started experiencing some mild chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath. I did my best to ignore it since it was so brief and mild but it continued to come on and got worse and worse over December of 2007. In early January, one morning right after I got to work the pain hit me so hard that it brought me to my knees and in tears. Still being a slow learner and petrified of the ER, I called my doctor. I told him of my symptoms (classic pain behind breast bone radiating out and down arms, pain in jaw, shortness of breath) and he told me to get to the ER immediately.

    Fortunately, I did not have an MI. But I had unstable angina with 95% blockage of my RCA and 85% blockage in my LAD. I'm now the (not so) proud owner of three Cordis Drug Eluding Stents. I'll probably be on Plavix for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, it took this episode for me to wake up. Now, I use my story to try to wake up my friends, family and anyone else who'll listen.

    Don't wait for an acute episode to get motivated. Your BMI is a clear sign that you are sick! There are no old fat people. You don't mention any other lipid profiles other than total cholesterol which is a pretty worthless measure but I'd suspect you've got a pretty high LDL with a large percentage of small-dense LDL particles. Elimination of grains will correct this issue as well as your weight. Get a CT heartscan. Read Good Calories, Bad Calories. Read Protein Power Life Plan. Continue coming to this site and to Mark's Daily Apple. Learn about insulin resistance. Your body is telling you to make these changes. Don't be a bonehead like I was. Listen to it.

  27. minneapolis J on May 24, 2009 at 13:55

    Patrik, a while ago you talked about how you were progressing on crossfit/paleo diet. How are things going?

  28. Anand Srivastava on May 25, 2009 at 00:05

    I hope you are taking Vitamin D3 supplements. They could help.

  29. Anand Srivastava on May 25, 2009 at 02:24

    Well I thought I will also post my experiences. I am not on a paleo diet. But this site and others have helped me understand the basics of healthy nutrition.

    I am 5'9", and weighed 94Kg when I started last year.

    I started last year in May with Swimming. Initial two months I just did plain wasting time in the pool. Then in August I started doing laps seriously. I lost about 5 Kg of weight. I suspect it was mostly water content.

    Then I found ExRx.net, learnt the virtues of weight lifting. Started on a regular program, and dropped a further 5 Kgs over the next two months. After that the weight drop stopped and I even picked up some weight. But I know that it was mostly muscle. I have kept on this regime till now. I had stagnated, and had lost a lot of my subcutaneous fat. My belly was still where it was. I did lose some fat there, but not much. I was at this point about 88Kg.

    Then I discovered this site and realized that fat is actually good for my body. I cannot actually get to a total low carb regime. So the alternative I have taken is to eat as few meals as necessary, but have big meals. This way I get as large a fasting phase as possible. I have reduced about 4 Kgs over the last one and half month, not bad for a non-paleo diet.

    I have also done a few experiments with exercising with an overnight fast and it did work better than when I used to eat something (a strong cup of coffee) in the morning. I found that my exercise were better after a low carb dinner than when I had a high carb dinner. So now I will be doing my exercise with no dinner.

    I think that our paleolithic humans would hunt the whole day and have the animal they brought home as dinner, which would be before sunset. And then the next day they would be off to another hunt. So I guess they were having just one meal a day. One meal a day on a mostly meat diet is practical, but not possible with a mostly carb diet, as you need to eat too much.

    They would have done the hunt mostly hungry. So I think our body will react to exercise better with no dinner if done in the morning and with no breakfast and lunch if done in the afternoon. But I think longer fasts are not good for exercise. It might be good to go hungry for longer times, but not before big lifts.

    I still cannot scrap dinner everyday, because that is the only meal that I have with my family.

  30. Anand Srivastava on May 25, 2009 at 02:41

    Just to add that I have given up on all sugar, and refined oil. The wheat is very occasional, a couple of times a week.

  31. Richard Nikoley on May 26, 2009 at 11:09

    Thanks for taking the time to share this sobering story, Todd. So glad you're on a sustainable path now.

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