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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ancestral Health, Paleo Diet and Primal Blueprint

...are some of the names given to a very broad movement of people interested in avoiding the diseases of civilization.  It's a big movement with disparate subsets that do not agree with each other totally.  I commend the following article to you (from GreenMed)   click here 

The jist of the article (I think) is simply that what our ancestors ate before the advent of agriculture was varied and dependant on where they lived.  We cannot know exactly what they ate, though real anthropology, nitrogen and carbon dating techniques can tell us a lot.  The evidence is clear that pre agricultural humans did not get cancer, diabetes, heart disease or the many other diseases of civilization.  Yes, they ran risks that we do not.  Their world was fraught with potential perils.  But those who survived the physical dangers lived functional lives without alzheimers and depression and osteoporosis and autism and irritable bowel syndrome and polycyctic disease.  And all the others.

So perhaps it's not quite so important that we nail down exactly what's in a historical paleolithic diet as it's important to understand what was NOT in it.  Such as:

Grass seeds probably never had a part of a paleo diet.  Grass seeds are too labor intensive.  Biologically speaking, grass seeds (grains) are little bundles of huge amounts of energy (sugar) for starting new plants.  Early humans didn't eat grains.

Industrial sludge, commonly called vegetable oil, (high in inflammatory Omega 6 oils) did not exist.

Sugar was not part of anything.  Early humans ate a diet that was very low in sugars and the things that become sugar in digestion.  The entire blood sugar/insulin system served a completely different purpose--to shuttle nutrients into cells, not to lower blood sugar.  The insulin system's function to lower blood sugar was only meant for the emergency situation when they found a bee tree and honey or a big crop of ripe berries.

The vegetative matter they gathered was organic and not fertilized with petrochemicals, but with the natural fertilizer of animal waste and the breakdown of  other plants and animals.

Fruits were less common, were in season, and relatively hard to come by, not hybridized nor stored on shelves for weeks.

There was nothing prepackaged.  They ate real food and there were no phoney colors, preservatives or pesticides in it.

No factory farmed livestock that ate grass seeds, got fat and needed antibiotics. 

No sweetened drinks.  No deserts.  No bread, no ceareal, no flouride in their water, no antibacterial soap

Yet, with all the trappings of civilization missing, early humans thrived and raised families and had well developed social groups, rituals and development.  And they proliferated--filling the globe.  That's biological success.

Now, humans die by millions--of degenerative diseases, often after years of gazillion-dollar medical intervention (proceedures and pharmaceuticals).  While I'm truly delighted that I do not have to run away from a hungry predator, I also do not want to live my declining years in hospitals and doctor's offices. 

My aunt died recently of cancer.  She was 90 years old.  What I heard from relatives was that wasn't so bad, afterall she was 90.  I say that cancer is not inevitable, nor is heart disease or many of the other things that kill--whether it's at 20 or at 90.  We know that cancer grows on its preferred fuel (glucose).  You cannot eat a diet high in sugar and sugars for a lifetime without paying a price in pathology--sooner or later.  High sugars and the resulting high insulin are inflammatory.  Eventually every cell in the body is responding with the immune response--inflammation--the body's response to insult.  And when the inflammation cannot work it's healing job because it is forever being initiated, never shutting down, it begins to damage some of those cells and allows pathology to get a foothold.

I read something recently (have forgotten the source, unfortunately.)  "Cancer doesn't make a person sick, cancer results when a person is sick."   And today I leave you with a couple other sound bites.

Buring fuel (food) causes the production of free radicals which age us and cause inflammation (they do physical damage to cells.)  More food, equals more free radical damage.  But the interesting part is this:  While protein and animal fat do cause some free radical production, carbohydrates cause many, many times more.

Your are what you eat--or, "We dig our graves with our teeth!"


  1. Good stuff... didn't ancestors get some sugar through fruit and honey? Not anything like the amount we eat today... I eat mostly primal... hasn't resulted in weight loss but no wheat makes my breathing easier by a bunch.

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  6. Great stuff here. The information and the detail were just perfect. I think that your perspective is deep, its just well thought out and really fantastic to see someone who knows how to put these thoughts down so well. Great job on this.

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