|The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat
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According to author Loren Cordain, modern health and diet problems didn't start with the advent of packaged snack food, but much earlier--back at the dawn of the agricultural age many thousands of years ago. As humans became less nomadic and more dependent on high-carbohydrate diets, we left behind the diet we had evolved with, which is based on low-fat proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Sugars, fats, and carbs were rare, if they were present at all, and survival required a steady, if low-key, level of activity.
Cordain's book The Paleo Diet blends medical research with a healthy sprinkle of individual anecdotes, practical tips, and recipes designed to make his suggestions into a sustainable lifestyle, rather than a simple month-long diet; he even includes cooking recommendations and nationwide sources for wild game.
Claims of improving diseases from diabetes to acne to polycystic ovary disease may be a little overstated, but in general the advice seems sound. Can any of us really go wrong by adding lots more vegetables and fruits to our daily regimen? One recommendation on safe tanning with a gradual reduction in sunscreen is surprising and not much detail is provided for safety issues that can accompany increased sun exposure. Still, Cordain's assertions have helped many people, and could provide exactly the changes you've been looking for to improve your health. --Jill Lightner
"We can't recommend The Paleo Diet highly enough!"
- Michael and Mary Dan Eades, M.D.
authors of Protein Power
"The Paleo Diet is at once revolutionary and intuitive. . . . Its prescription provides without a doubt the most nutritious diet on the planet."
-Jennie Brand-Miller, Ph.D., coauthor of the bestselling The Glucose Revolution and The Glucose Revolution Life Plan
"Filled with delicious recipes and meal plans, The Paleo Diet will open your eyes, trim your waistline, and improve your overall health."
-Michael R. Eades, M.D., and Mary Dan Eades, M.D.
authors of The 30-Day Low-Carb Diet Solution and coauthors of The Low-Carb Comfort Food Cookbook
"Finally, someone has figured out the best diet for people-a modern version of the diet the human race grew up eating. Dr. Loren Cordain's easy-to-follow diet plan cuts right to the chase."
-Jack Challem, coauthor of Syndrome X: The Complete Nutritional Program to Prevent and Reverse Insulin Resistance
Healthy, delicious, and simple, the Paleo Diet is the diet you were designed to eat. If you want to lose weight-up to 75 pounds in six months-or if you want to attain optimal health, The Paleo Diet will do wonders for you. The world's leading expert on Paleolithic (Stone Age) nutrition, Dr. Loren Cordain demonstrates how, by eating all the lean meats and fish, fresh fruits, and nonstarchy vegetables you want, you can lose weight and prevent and treat heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, Syndrome X, and many other illnesses. Over 100 delicious Paleo recipes provide enough flavor and variety to satisfy anyone, and the six weeks of Paleo meal plans get you started on a healthy and enjoyable new way of eating. Start reading and following The Paleo Diet today and eat your way to weight loss, weight control, increased energy, and lifelong health-while enjoying every delicious bite.
- Exceptional and Highly Recommended
Dr. Loren Cordain is one of the top researchers in the field of human nutrition. This book represents the distillation of his extraordinary knowledge and long career. This book cannot be recommded highly enough. The plan he outlines is simple, yet thorougly backed by research. As a nutritionist, I have admired his research papers for years. At last I have a book I can give to my clients that will tell them from one of top authorities how they are supposed to eat! If you have to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, or gain control of your diabetes, this book can offer you tremendous help, and give you and eating plan you need to regain your health....more info
- The Paleo Diet
THERE ARE SO MANY DIETS TODAY, ONE CAN HARDLY MAKE AN INTELLLIGENT CHOICE. EACH HAS ITS COMPLICATED REASONS FOR BEINB THE BEST. IN CASE OF THE PALEO DIET THESE REASONS ARE EASILY COMPRREHENSIBLE AND MAKE SENSE,...more info
- Definitive and highly professional
I have been researching the paleolithic diet and nutrition for a long time. I've read many articles by Dr. Loren Cordain, S. Boyd Eaton, Staphan Lindeberg and many others, so I am not unused to the subject. All I can say is that The Paelo Diet by Dr. Cordain is a superb book. Furthermore, I submitted myself to a strict paleodiet since Jan/06/2009 and the results were fantastic since the second week. Now, at the 24th day of dieting, I have already lost 20.4 pounds and my blood pressure and glucose are normal for the first time in more than 10 years. I received The Paleo Diet, from Amazon, at the 15th day after beginning the diet and it made things even easier, in a already so easy to follow diet.
Milton Maciel, Brazil ...more info
- The Paleo Diet Made Simple
If you're new to the Paleo Diet concept, I suggest you pick up this book first. It is a straight forward, easy to understand book that does a good job of showing that the Paleo diet is not a fad diet, but the politically correct diet of this age (high carb, low fat) IS.
For those who are familiar with the Paleolithic style of eating, I might want to give it a star or two less. Why? Well, Dr. Cordain is THE leading expert in the anthropological aspect of the Paleo diet, and quite frankly I was expecting more in depth discussion, research...and a lot more numbers. For the frustrated dieter who simply wants a diet THAT WORKS though, this is probably not a concern....more info
- Extreme looking diet works remarkably well
My doctor recommended this diet to me. When I got the book I didn't think
there would be any way I could adhere to it--it seemed too extreme.
The premise is that foods we ate for thousands of years before the agricultural revolution (meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts) are the foods that are the healthiest and best suited to us today. The author advises the elimination of all grains and dairy products. What makes it doable are three "Open" meals per week in which the dieter can enjoy foods from the forbidden list. I've found it easier to stay on than I imagined in the short term. I don't know how well someone can adhere to the diet in the long term but the pounds seem to come off quickly in the beginning....more info
- I have read a TON of nutrition books...
...and this book is a MUST have for anyone serious about performance nutrition. I have been a serious student of health and nutrition since I was diagnosed with Cancer as a teenager. I have been cured and healthy for well over 15 years and nutrition is an enormous part of the reason I have been able to become as fit as I am now. "The Paleo Diet" is state of the art information backed by solid scientific research on how your body is designed to eat....more info
- A god nutrition reference but...
...I wish there were more scientific in-depth discussion to the claims of the book. There's a lot of persuasive talk (and I believe that's how the diet books are written) but unlike some other diet books this one has an incredible and consistent message: The humans evolved to eat a certain diet; what we eat presently is contrary to our genes, thus all the "diseases of affluence"; thus, you eat what you ancestors ate.
Unfortunately, this is a standard diet book, and I wish the authors explore more and debunk the criticism of the Paleo Diet (for example, the role of abundance of calories and role of exercise), the book would be more credible. I would give it 3 1/2 starts, since the overall message of the book can take on a dozen of diet books put together.
By all means be familiar with this diet....more info
- Pleasant Read
The book brings forward the thinking on diets by looking to our past primitive diets. It advanced for me the concept of acid/alkaline balances and omega 3 to omega 6 fat ratios....more info
- So far so good!
I have been on the diet 3 weeks and I feel great. I have also lost 10lbs. This is a great guide for starting the Paleo Diet. If you can make it through the first 48 hours of carb withdrawl, it will work. I also recommend "Neanderthin". But this book really does a great job of explaining the entire process and the theory behind it. It makes the plan simple with a food guide. Do it!...more info
- Low Fat Atkins
"The Paleo Diet" seems to be Dr. Loren Cordain's attempt to give us a Low Fat Atkins diet. Dr. Cordain claims this is the diet that humans ate in paleolithic times and for a long, long, time. Yet, the large amount of protein in this diet is a little bit scary.
After reading through the book, I am not terribly happy with it. However, I am not totally unhappy with it. I do feel that the hunter-gatherer societies of ancient times probably ate more grain and legumes than Cordain gives them credit for doing. There are a number of instances where the book seems to have accepted some PC dieting ideas that are not well proven, such as a total avoidance of dairy foods. I have never liked Vegan ideas, so I guess it is relatively normal to not like the total opposite notions.
I, honestly, do not see how we can be very faithful to this diet. It does not seem to be a reasonable diet in today's world. It calls for a very large change from the general diet used in your world, today. Well, we shall see how it holds up over time. I would be a lot more optimistic if the change were less radical.
Meanwhile, if you want to try this diet, please have a discussion with your physician, first. Another discussion with a reputable nutritionist would also be a good idea. Do not, simply, rely on this book. ...more info
- Closer to healthy than atkins, but not quite there.
The Paleo Diet is based on an interesting premise- the idea that what we ate before agriculture suited our needs perfectly because our bodies had been bred by evolution in response to our what we could find to eat in our environment. It seems like a giant leap to assume our paleolithic ancestors naturally gravitated towards exactly what we need to eat. Animals in the wild do make sensible choices most of the time, because their decisions are instinctual. Self-awareness creates a problem that doesn't exist for other animal behavior as it does for humans. Sometimes we do things out of curiosity, or laziness, or false beliefs. So, considering the erratic behavior of present-day humans, who is to say our paleolithic ancestors were any more intuitive about their nutritive needs? Even the book suggests humans ate what they did out of trial and error, frequently just trying whatever they encountered in the wild.
The fact that wild foods are frequently much richer in nutrients than domestic foods does not mean that you must subscribe to a strict paleolithic diet to take advantage of this fact. Rather, eat more wild-sourced food. Just about anything edible from the wild will be a healthy food, unless the environment from which it comes is polluted- and that is a very real problem.
Meat is a very dodgy thing nowadays, not like it was in the pristine wilderness of the paleolithic era. The Paleo diet would be a healthy thing if we were still in that world. Now, we need to worry about heavy metals in fish flesh, and antibiotics and growth hormones in feedlot animals. Beef will have some naturally occuring omega 3 if the animals were allowed to wander in a more or less natural fashion, as they did when the most commonly employed mechanism for animal control was the cowboy. This is no longer true. The average cut of meat in your supermarket is taken from a feedlot animal, fed the wrong food and in conditions unsanitary in the extreme. Basing a diet on meat in this day and age can be dangerous. You must choose your meat sources carefully. Meat made from free-range animals raised on pesticide-free in a caring manner can be very hard to find.
I found Loren's rejection of all products of agricultural development a little too simple minded, and in some cases irresponsible. There is nothing at all unhealthy about whole grain foods or legumes consumed in moderation, and significant weight loss could occur for most people if they ingested organic whole grains and legumes but conscientiously avoided only the major evil products of agriculture: high fructose corn syrup, trans-fatty acids, artifical sweeteners, uncleaned foods raised non-organically with pesticides and herbicides, and improperly raised food animals.
My main objection to the book is nearly one hundred pages (about half) of the book is dedicated to the spiel- convincing you this thing is real and valid and worth your time. I think the forward to the book or perhaps the first chapter alone would have been sufficient for that purpose. After a while you get the feeling Loren is trying too hard to sell this idea to you, and it really interferes with the flow of the book.
Further, a lot (but not all) of the studies cited show only marginal advantages of different aspects of this diet. The claims that you will experience great weight loss and feel better than you ever have are quite nice to imagine, and peppered throughout the book. But it's hard to believe with the less than overwhelming studies cited.
One last nitpick. One great way to compensate for the lack of typical food taste enhancers like salt and sugar is the use of herbs and spices. something very much like the paleo diet already exists as part of peasant cuisines around the world. It's a pity the recipes included do not explore those, but instead offer somewhat watered down and uninspired fare instead. Espscially asian cuisines frequently make due with alot of the ingredients that are ok on the paleo diet, and their interesting spices make it all the more entertaining. I found the recipes far too traditional and western-centric. ...more info
- How long did the cavemen live ?
I think this is a good book on diet and nutrition and culture. The author is correct, I think, to criticize the typical U.S. diet, which is literally killing millions of people, because it is heavily based on sugar, carbohydrates, fat, and sodium (salt). Processed foods are full of bad things like hydrogenated fats, and fast food has all kinds of bad things in it. I also think that the idea of eating lean protein, fruits and vegetables is a very good idea. For example, you can literally eat as much fruit as you want. By the time your stomache is full, you will stop eating, but the energy density to volume of food is very low, so you won't gain weight. I think one big factor in the U.S. obesity epidemic is lack of exercise and movement (driving everywhere) and also the fact that portions keep increasing in size. Going to a lean protein and fruit and veggies diet is a good idea, because protein make you feel full far longer than carbs do. So in essence, I like this book and will do this diet. However, I mean, let's get real, the average paleolithic man or woman lived probably to be about 22 on average, whereas we today live to be 74. Paleo man died probably mostly of infections and parasites. He did not live long enough to develop heart disease or the types of diseases the author associates with our "high carb diet". So it is a bit of an unfair comparison. I would take our modern lifestyle over that of paleo man any day of the week, and I think it is a bit odd to hold up as a model a people that died so young. Another issue I have is, if our genetic code designs us for eating lean protein and veggies, why do the things we crave tend to be other things (donuts, pizza, etc.). If my genes are specifically built for eating veggies and lean protein, why do I like pizza and donuts more ? It can't all be "cultural factors". I once read an interview of a top European nutrition expert, and he said, they did research on what is in uncooked vegetables, and he reported that many of the things are very harmful. Brocholi has some really nasty substances in it ! He also said that we should tune more into what our body tells us, because it doesn't lie. For example, you body self-regulates, and will give you signals for what to eat and when, if you know how to listen to it. So the idea in the Paleo diet that uncooked veggies are all good and that we are genetically designed to eat them and lean protein makes me wonder a bit, because moms all over the world have to force their kids to eat stuff like brocholi. Maybe nature knows a lot more than we do, and those kids are right, if they listen to what their body is telling them. I think the truth is, our paleo genetics doesn't know we live in an environment of extremely easy access to food (especially in the U.S.), and we tend to love fats and sugars and salt because in a resource-scare environment, we HAD to love them, because they were so rare. On the other hand, veggies were everywhere. So I think there are some very good concepts in this book, and everyone should think this through. It is fascinating and I appreciate that the author wrote this book, because it puts us on the right track. ...more info
- At least one of the 'editorial' reviewers didn't read it
... or maybe s/he simply didn't understand what s/he read. I'm talking about the one that made the stupid statement about the lifespan of paleo humans being only 30 years. Cordain's research shows that if the paleo human was able to avoid childhood mortality and accident, he or she was typically a healthy and productive member of the tribe well into the 60's or 70's, and that the agricultural 'revolution' substantially shortened the human lifespan. Skeletal remains of elderly paleo humans are common -- plus they don't usually show signs of degenerative diseases (or even crooked teeth). Both Cordain and Audette make this observation, so I'm assuming the reviewer simply relied on what somebody else said about the book when writing the 'review'.
Cordain's diet recommendations have two big plusses: 1) they make sense, and 2) they are simple enough for anybody (except maybe the 'reviewer' in question) to understand and implement.
In addition to this book, I recommend Ray Audette's NeanderThin....more info
- A Stricter Variation of the South Beach/Atkins Diet
This diet elimninates starches and grains, sugar, of course, legumes and dairy products and makes the case for us eating like our ancestors. Good examples and receipies. May be hard to follow completely in its purest form....more info
- Worthwhile Insights for Athletes, too
As a professional ski instructor, speaker, and author, I am almost constantly shocked at what people tend to eat--and the resulting catatonic state that I find so many struggling to overcome. The Paleo Diet helps to illustrate why that is. Basically, we're not eating the way that we are designed to eat, instead giving in to the very modern "convenience" of prepared and manufactured food (from wheat to sugar) and reaping the consequences.
I have long studied the more scientific approaches to diet and learned what works well for me. Dr. Cordain's perspective matches my experience and my observations. You owe it to yourself to learn this side of the options for eating and to consider why you feel the way you do.
What do you have to lose?...more info
- Mostly Right
The book is a great overview of the human body's natural diet. Dr. Cordain does a great job explaining in detail the concepts of a Paleolithic Diet and how it translates into modern day eating. I agreed with most of Dr. Cordain's concepts except when it came to eating fat. Fat, and more specifically saturated fat, has been unfairly villainized by modern paradigms and this book does nothing to clear this misinformation. There is some evidence to suggest that our ancestors preferentially ate the fat from the animals they hunted. Cordain's diet seems to skirt this issue and combine a true paleo diet with a modern day, politically correct, low fat diet....more info
- Destined to be regarded as a classic
The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. is a monumental work that brilliantly explains and popularizes what may well be one of the biggest breakthroughs in scientific understanding in human history: the evolutionary hypothesis of human nutrition and lifestyle. This hypothesis does what no other diet and exercise regime does: it builds a scientific model that can be used to make predictions that can be tested and it does so upon the very foundation of biology--evolution.
This book does an excellent job of explaining this model and how to put it to use. Dr. Cordain's style is eminently readable, so it is understandable to the layperson while maintaining a scientific and evidence-based approach. Endnotes would make the book even better.
Those scientists who are using this evolutionary model of nutrition predict that the healthiest foods for humans will be the natural foods that humans have been eating for the last 2.5 million years--not the agrarian and processed foods of the last ten thousand years--and that an optimal diet will approximate as much as possible the types of diets that Paleolithic peoples consumed.
Most other diets take a hit-or-miss, after-the-fact approach, focusing on the micro level of what certain scientific studies and anecdotal evidence suggest about the healthiness of certain foods and diets, and from the aggregation of some of this data, try to determine the optimal dietary approach. As new data comes in that contradicts the old, upheavals in dietary fads occur and many people become confused and discouraged by the conflicting signals they receive over the years. As others have noted, Paleolithic-based diets are the only non-fad diets, since they span hundreds of thousands and millions of years, not decades.
The most common criticism of the evolutionary hypothesis of diet and lifestyle involves comparative life expectancy. Assumptions are made that people live much longer and healthier lives today than Stone Agers did, and that Stone Agers did not live long enough to acquire the chronic degenerative diseases of modern civilization. The idea that hunter gatherers' lives were "nasty, brutish, and short" is actually an exaggeration that was popularized by Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan. Dr. Cordain explains (as have others) the scientific findings that human life expectancies DECLINED when Stone Age hunter-gatherers adopted an agrarian lifestyle at the start of the Neolithic era. The later increases in life expectancy were mainly due to public health advances in sanitation, food safety, quarantine systems, immunizations and childbirth survival rates. Thirty three years was the estimated AVERAGE life expectancy of a Paleolithic hunter-gatherer male, not the maximal lifespan of all hunter gatherers. A hunter gatherer who survived childbirth, infectious disease, accidents, battles, and wild animals could be expected to live as long as we do today. Moreover, archaeological and anthropological studies of Paleolithic records and contemporary hunter-gatherer cultures show much lower prevalence of heart disease, sudden cardiac death, cancer, stroke and even acne than in modern societies.
Professor Jared Diamond, the famous evolutionary biologist and author, went so far as to state that "recent discoveries suggest that the adoption of agriculture, supposedly our most decisive step toward a better life, was in many ways a catastrophe from which we have never recovered. With agriculture came the gross social and sexual inequality, the disease and despotism, that curse our existence." He further declared that "Hunter-gatherers practiced the most successful and longest-lasting life style in human history. In contrast, we're still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us, and it's unclear whether we can solve it."
Those questions that Cordain didn't handle thoroughly in his book are addressed on his website (http://thepaleodiet.com/faqs/). Perhaps future editions of the book will include the additional details and defenses that Cordain has posted on his site. For example, Cordain responds to another common objection to The Paleo Diet--that hunter gatherers favored fatty cuts of meat and that Cordain is therefore wrong to suggest that we restrict our intake of saturated fat. Cordain agrees that "There is absolutely no doubt that hunter-gatherers favored the fattiest part of the animals they hunted and killed" (such as the tongue and brains). But this does not mean that we should eat unlimited quantities of fatty domestic meats, as Cordain explains: "Not surprisingly, these organs are all relatively high in fat, but more importantly analyses from our laboratories showed the types of fats in tongue, brain, and marrow are healthful, unlike the high concentrations of saturated fats found in fatty domestic meats. Brain is extremely high in polyunsaturated fats including the health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids, whereas the dominant fat in tongue and marrow are the cholesterol lowering monounsaturated fats." Cordain points out that modern feedlot cattle typically have 30% body fat or greater, versus the 10% body fat that wild Paleolithic animals averaged on a year round basis.
Cordain also explains on his site that the question of saturated fat is more complicated than a simple good-or-bad debate would indicate. Some saturated fat is good (stearic acid) and some is bad (palmitic acid, lauric acid, and myristic acid). Wild animals have more of the good saturated fat than domestic animals.
As scientific understanding of the new field of evolutionary nutrition advances, some of Cordain's recommendations may well be revised. Cordain has already modified one of his recommendations: he no longer recommends using flaxseed oil in cooking (he still recommends consuming it cold, adding it to meats after cooking them and to salads) and acknowledges that was an error. This is a new field in science and there is still much to learn.
Cordain was first "enlightened" about diet by S. Boyd Eaton's 1985 article in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled "Paleolithic Nutrition." Accumulating evidence and growing scientific opinion suggests that S. Boyd Eaton, Loren Cordain and others have indeed started a scientific revolution. I believe that this book will be seen in retrospect as an early classic in this revolution's development.
One doesn't even need to accept the evolutionary model in order to recognize the wisdom of this dietary approach. Cordain says that a blueprint for optimal nutrition is built into our genes and "Whether you believe the architect of that blueprint is God, or God acting through evolution by natural selection, or by evolution alone, the end result is still the same: We need to give our bodies the foods we were originally designed to eat." ...more info
- Excellent Book
I was recommeded this book by a fitness coach. I was about 50 lbs overweight and suffering health problems. Anyhow, I been following the program for about 2 months now and occasionally work out and have lost 25 lbs. I tried Atkins before and did lose about 40 lbs, but as soon as I went off and added carbs back I gained weight like no tomorow. I wore everything I ate. With this program I eat a lot of fruit and vegtables and the part that is great is it seems to kill your hunger after awhile. I used to think about food most of the time and with this program, I actually sometimes have to remind myself to eat. That is completely un-heard of for me prior. Additionally, I feel much better, my compexion, and skin is much healthier looking. I ve lost about 25 lbs already and I have energy to want to work out. With Atkins I had no energy and no endurance. Occasionaly when I cheat, and eat bread, it actually upsets my stomach now. I used to have indigestion frequently, now that is also gone. I highly recommend this program....more info
- good book
I really enjoyed this. The information makes sense to me - not just my brain, but my physical intuition resonates with this way of eating. I was so grateful when it came out because I had suspected, in recent years, that our genetic history should dictate our diet. I do think we should have more detailed background on what our specific ancestors ate.
For instance, I have a native American friend who, through process of elimination & re-introduction has discovered she can eat beans and corn with no problems whereas I cannot. Her ancestors have had enough time to adapt to a diet including them. I suspect the grain barley would be OK for me because it was eaten for thousands of years by my Celtic ancestors. Orientals probably have foods they are genetically predisposed to deal with just fine.
But this is a really good start on what I hope will become a more detailed subject for some researcher in the future. ...more info
- Somewhat Correct- Better than Some Books
I got this book because I, being a current health advocate, X-nurse, and cookbook author, wanted to see how it compared to The Seventh-day Diet. It is true that most people did not get ill until folks started bleaching flour and consuming white sugar. I go back to the original diet in the Bible and see that we are to eat grains, veggies, fruits, olives, and nuts. Yes, we can eat clean meat IF the blood is drained- but most folks don't buy kosher foods. Most folks, like she says in the book, eat processed foods. So I have to agree with her on some points; however, some points, like eating unclean meat, I do not agree with at all. Also, I have done vast research on diary and it causes sinus infections. I was by the side of the Amish Hex doctors on several occasions when he treated people that had consumed lots of dairy with herbs and apple cider vinegar. My suggestion is to buy the Seventh-day Diet book, which is on Amazon. I am a Seventh-day Adventist now and feel so much better, being a vegan. While in nursing school, I did a study on people in a cancer unit- just to see how many ate alot of veggies- only one lady ate a pretty good amount. Also, one of my test questions in my laste semester at Eastern Kentucky University was what you wouldn't feed your patient- the answer was a hot dog- because the sodium nitrates cause cancer. Lastly, I am glad that she did include some valuable viewpoints of more veggies and how bad the sugar and processed food are.
Sicily Yoder aka Teresa Phillips
Author of, Amish Cooking with Sicily Yoder", and "Leaving Lancaster County."
- Practical and Effective
[NOTE: This review relates to the paperback edition.]
At first glance, the Paleo diet seemed extreme to me. Give up grains AND beans AND dairy completely? What's left? Won't I be hungry? Won't I get bored? Won't I die of malnutrition? Obviously the answer to all of the above is "no." My body adjusted quickly to lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, raw and cooked vegetables, and fruit. I'm eating 10 times more fruits and vegetables than before, snacking more and cooking more. My food cravings are gone, and I feel sated after I eat. Oh yes, and did I mention that I lost 8 pounds over the past 4 months?
I've seen numerous health benefits from lowering my glycemic index and salt intake and eliminating the indigestible proteins found in grains and beans. Acid reflux, gas, joint pain, sinus congestion -- all completely gone! Amazing.
Since nobody's twisting my arm, I've "cheated" a few times and eaten something that used to be part of my diet, like oatmeal or corn chips. Next day the acid reflux, gas and congestion come back. My sense of taste has become more sensitive and I notice a rancid, unpleasant note even in foods like organic oatmeal. So the desire to stray has diminished and staying on the diet is easy. However, there are a couple of things I've chosen not to give up: organic butter as a condiment on vegetables, and organic half-and-half in my coffee. I've noticed no ill effects, and get a lot of taste enjoyment from these items, which is important even when eating healthy!
I've given the book 4 stars rather than 5, because there are a few things here and there that I don't agree with. I don't think one should heat flax seed oil. And the recipes, while passable, don't excite me very much. Also, the book is written in a popular self-help style, focusing on weight loss and bypassing a purely health-conscious viewpoint. One example: although Dr. Cordain says we really shouldn't drink it, he mentions diet soda as a possible beverage. He knows better.
On the other hand, the health benefits for "eating Paleo" are offered in an understandable way, explaining why it's good for high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes and so on. If you read the book, you will know how to "do the diet" and why it's a good idea. The science is well-presented. There's a 20-page index of double-blinded study research results from around the world, to which Dr. Cordain refers throughout the book. This is not some weird dietary notion that somebody invented. It was arrived at by hard research, investigation and study. Whether you accept the notion that we should strive to approximate our caveperson ancestors' diet is beside the point: from my experience, this is a healthy diet that eliminates the pitfalls of eating foods our bodies were not genetically programmed to digest. My results speak for themselves.
Some people do have bodies that can handle just about anything they feel like eating. And ethnic, regional and personal variations ensure that the Paleo diet will never take over the world. All I can say is that eating Paleo has improved the quality of my health immeasurably. And as a weight loss diet, it's foolproof. Eliminate junk food and fast food and replace them with high quality animal protein and as much fresh veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds as you can pile in your mouth...and thank Mother Nature (and Dr. Cordain et al) for Her bounty with every bite....more info
- I am confused
Overall I liked this book. It is easy to read and contains some solid nutritional facts. However, on page 21 and 22 it seems to contradict itself big time. On Page 21 it shows the protein content of the plan to range from 19-35%. However, following this analysis of the diet he says it is not necessary to count calories, but if you did that one would find 55% of the calories on the Paleo diet come from protein. I would dearly love to know if I have misinterpreted something here or that there is a misprint or something. Too much of a discrepancy for me. Maybe the publisher could clear this up. Is the protein 19%, 35% or is it indeed as much as 55%.
In any case the diet itself is simple, easy to follow and well laid out, however, one may just have to calculate the protein content for oneself. Personally I like to know the analysis of any diet that I am trying....more info
- horribly misguided, error-filled, and toxic
Cordain's book is long on speculation and error and very short on data.
He would have you eat protein at levels just a hair short of toxicity for your entire life! Don't do this if you value your health.
Cordain suggests that no vegetarian diet could come close to the nutrient levels he provides in his sample diet plan. This is spectacularly wrong--any plant-based diet that centers on dark leafy greens rather than whole grains will provide more of everything (except B12) with fewer calories, more fiber, more good carbohydrate, and less saturated fat, in a way that is more health-promoting, and will result in much better blood lipid profiles and is far more likely to reduce incidence of certain types of cancers.
Cordain would also have you cook with flax oil. This is also spectacularly wrong.
The idea of reducing grains is not bad--simply because they are not as nutrient dense as vegetables and fruits, but the idea of jacking up animal flesh to ridiculously toxic levels to take their place is a very very bad one--not only for one's health, but also for the planet.
If you want to try something health-promoting, consider a 10% animal, 90% plant diet--center your calorie needs around dark leafy greens and purples, non-starchy non-leafy vegetables and fungi, starchy roots and tubers, raw fruit, and raw nuts and seeds in descending order, lightly supplemented with lean and fatty fish, other lean seafood, and perhaps some cultured nonfat dairy and modest quantities of sprouted grains and legumes. Emphasize genetic diversity with a wide variety of bright colors on the plate. This is a much healthier option to follow....more info
- The Ultimate Diet
This plan really strikes me as the best possible way of eating. I am familiar with a number of other popular "low-carb" plans, and most are either too high in saturated fat and too low in fruit and vegetables, or simply too complicated and full of unusual foods. This book describes what seems to be a very reasonable, tasty, and healthy eating plan based on lean meats, fruits and vegetables, and some healthy fats. The author explains in simple terms how this is the diet that humans are genetically programmed to do best on. I'm convinced; I'm going to try it!...more info
- Finally a Science Based Diet
Every nutritionist, MD, chef and charliton has a diet theory. "Low Fat" is good. "Low Carbs" is good. "Balanced (whatever that means!)" is good. Loren Cordain also has a theory. His theory makes as good or better sense than most of the others: Our body and mind are probably better off if we eat the foods we evolved with over a couple of million years of evolution. What makes Cordain's approach different is that he backs it up with real science, that is, testing his theory with real research and real tests on real subjects using the scientific method. If the tests don't show that the one or another part of the theory is working it gets cut out and the theory modified. I'm tired of trying out untested theories which are politically correct or sound good. I want science. Cordain delivers.
By the way, just because I've lost wieght, feel great and really enjoy my food is just anectotal evidence, not a double blind test with statical significance, but it got me to write this review!...more info
I've been following the Paleo Diet for about two weeks now, and here are the results so far:
- I've lost 7 pounds..with hardly ANY exercise. (Imagine if I DID!)
- My skin is more clear, smoother, and 'glowing'.
- I have much more energy than before.
- I sleep less, but wake up more refreshed and ready to go.
- I am..um.."regular".
- I am never famished.
- My hair has stopped falling out like it was.
I eat as soon as I feel hungry, until I'm full (and by full, I mean stuffed). I still eat a piece of cheese once in a while and put a tablespoon of lactose-free milk in my tea. It's not a typical "low-carb" way of eating, as all fruits and non-starchy vegetables are included. The book is very informative, and if something isn't explained to your liking, [...] and your questions will surely be answered. ...more info
- The Paleo Diet
I really liked this book - and started the diet.
My sugar levels are way down, my blood pressure is down -
I wish I had this book 20 years ago!...more info
- Not such a great book, but it is worth reading
Let me begin by saying that I am a 100% believer in the paleo diet/ caveman diet concept. I am a national-level olympic weightlifter and have tried every combination of high/low carb/fat diet to find something that allowed me to stay in the same weight class as I got older. The only thing that has ever worked is the paleo diet.
For a good, concise description of the paleo diet, search for it on wikipedia.
Having said that, I will now be critical of this book. I found this book to be very verbose and never provided a convincing argument for the paleo diet. Very little evidence was provided that the diet described in this book was what was eaten 20,000 years ago. Most of the argument for this diet was modern research on how ingredient X (e.g. omega-3 fatty acids) is good for you. I have heard excellent evidence supporting the paleo diet during a few lectures by a scientist that studies coprolites (few thousand year old petrified excrement), unfortunately, similar evidence is not in this book.
Furthermore, there are a few technical issues I have with what is presented in this book. I have a PhD in theoretical chemistry. Having gone through graduate school, I know that just about anyone can get a PhD or become faculty if they are patient. Because of this, I'm immune to the Doctor/Professor name dropping used throughout this book.
Repeatedly, the author asserts that chloride from salt causes the body to become more acidic. Offhand, it is not at all clear to me how this could happen. Chloride ions in solution are basically inert. I have to believe that this conjecture is wrong.
The author also makes repeated comments about how bad salt is for you. A few years back, there was an article in the journal Science (one of the two highest tier scientific journals) about the politics of salt. The article describes a political agenda to show that salt caused medical problems. A few hundred million dollars and a half dozen project leaders later, the program was shut down because the researchers could not prove what the politicians wanted. I'm not suggesting that people should eat a lot of salt, since cavemen ate much less sodium and more potassium than we do today, but I am suggesting the health problems blamed on salt have sketchy research backing them up.
In spite of this book's problems, it is worth reading. The description of the paleo diet is good enough to be effective when followed....more info
- Another miracle diet, sigh
I'm very interested in natural nutrition, but I was a bit disappointed with this book. There are so many "musts" in it. It's not true that everything invented after the stone age is not healthy for us. I live in Sweden and we drink lots of milk and digest it well. Some low fat milk promotes a good health, I think. The author also says "Absolutely no peanuts". Well, I read in the paper today that a substance found in grapes, peanuts and other vegetables is likely to extend your life span and slow down aging. And in Asia they do well on eating lots of soy bean products.
How old did they get back then? I've heard they had an average life span of 40 years. Was that only because they had no doctors or could their diet have been less than perfect after all? And I wonder why the Japanese, who eat a lot of rice, and Swedes, who eat a lot of milk and rye bread, become twice as old in average.
Italians get old too, and they eat a lot of pasta.
But I've learned at least one thing from the book: Eat more protein. I've started to eat more fresh fish and vegetables and I feel really fine. I already seem to need less sleep. I've tried to cut down on pasta, white bread and sugar for a long time, but the book encourages me to go on doing so. (My teeth like the new diet too. If you are strict with it you could almost skip tooth brushing!)
I agree that wheat, corn etc and products thereof are not nutritious. Too much energy, too little nutrients. But you don't have to skip it altogether!
Read the book, it has some good points. But please don't forget to use common sense. We can of course use some farm products and still be perfectly healthy and have long lives. We can have the best of both worlds. Why not listen to your stomach? Only your stomach can tell you what foods you digest well. No book can do that. Your stomach is a good, personal guide....more info
- Don't be stupid, read this book
I grew up believing that all the things I was eating are good for me. Surely white flour products like bread, bagels, cereals (especially coco puffs) are good for me. All the advertisers told me so. But reading this book and others by (Melissa Diane Smith, Burton Berkson, Jack Challem etc...) my paradigm changed. This and the other authors give you just the facts, it's well documented, meaning it is the truth. On April 28 (my weight was 173) my doctor told me my cholesterol was almost 300. He suggested "Crestor" to lower it. Thank god to never took the drugs. You next questions should be "well what is you cholesterol and weight now". Well, after about two months, July 1, my cholesterol was 137 (actually this is to low, but I didn't think it would work so fast) my weight was 153. My fasting glucose is 79; my Blood pressure is 110/120 over 60/70. I'm 48 and feel like 28.
When I read other comments stating that this author is wrong, misguided and just plain wrong, I just had to write. Just look at the facts, they speak for them selves.
I had the misfortune of telling my friends who are on medication that they to can be drug free, feel better, never be hunger, live longer, etc.... they just ignore it and go on doing the same thing.
Don't be stupid, read this book, follow it for just 3 months, even if you don't believe it to be true. After the 3 months you will know who telling the true.
- Not enough Info on the Website!
I was researching this book on the Author's website. I hope the Author reads this as I am annoyed at the FAQ's listed and the fact that if you want to ask a question, you have to pay $500! Whoa! Well that's kind of insulting to consumers. Who in their right mind would pay $500 for an hour of his time? Not even Atkins charged that much as I called his office and he only charged $175 for an ACTUAL medical appointment, not a vertual or phone one. Greed, one of the seven deadly sins my friend. Either greed or he just doesn't want to talk to people period. Not a good way of getting your point across.
I am also annoyed at the Sally Fallon rebuttal wasting most of the FAQ page up. This person is not a doctor so who really cares what she says? I took this as a personal issue with the Author best published elsewhere and used the FAQ space as a question/answer place about the diet, like my question of how the Author felt about the link of eating a heavy meat diet to colon cancer, which was not even addressed! The Author needs to update the website. ca-ripe....more info
- The diet our genes want
What I like most in this book is the emphasis on adaptation. In all living organisms adaptation is achieved via a few simple processes: mutation, fusion/ recombination, and selection of the genes that occur during the reproduction process only while the organism prepares its genes to transmit them to the next generation. The resistance of bacteria to antibiotics demonstrates that an adaptation necessitates about one thousand generations. Bacteria divide rapidly and can have thousand generations in one year. In human one thousand generations takes about 15 to 20,000 years. This is why we are poorly adapted to the changes in the diet resulting from agriculture that started 10 to 12,000 years ago. This is why we are absolutely not adapted to more recent changes, like starch and sugar excess, deficiency of other carbohydrates than those found in starch and sugar,the refining of food, additives and pesticide residus, mineral and vitamin scarcity and the essential fatty acid imbalance of the American diet. This is why our genes still prefer the ancestral Paleo diet!...more info
- Paleo Diet
This version of the "protein" diet brings the whole eating craze back to the center where it belongs. It just doesn't make sense to eat dripping bacon and greasy cheeseburgers without any checks and balances. The Paleo diet calls for a sensible approach to eating lean protein as did our distant ancestors, and reinstitutes the idea that fruit and vegetables should be a mainstay. I do wish there was a more prominent place for whole grains, but who says you have to follow Paleo exactly?
Good nutritional information included in this book....more info
- Paleo Diet makes sense...
This is one of the few diet books that actually make sense to me--it focuses on how our bodies were meant to eat, and what we're genetically programmed to process. There are no magic tricks, no "fat burning miracles," no tricks, no drugs, no 30-days-to-a-new-you, just solid, and (to me) sensible and easy to follow guidelines.
The book emphasizes fresh foods, rather than processed--that makes sense and avoids who knows what chemical additives. Lean meat, healthful oils, fish or seafood, fresh vegetables and fruits--simple. No need to try to interpret complex labels, count calories, carbs, or whatever. Just lean meats, fresh vegetables and fruits.
This is not to say you have to eat all game meats and raw vegetables and fruits to benefit--you can adapt many of your favorite recipes and snacks and even eat out, if you pay attention to what you're ordering.
As the author of The Wild Foods Cookbook for Stephen Greene Press The Wild foods Cookbookin the early 90s, I'm delighted to find how often this book parallels my own research. Again, no need to forage as our ancestors did--with care, we can shop at our local supermarket or farmer's market.
Cordain's not the world's greatest writer, and he tends to repeat his points more than I really enjoy, but the basic tenets are easy to grasp, make sense, and make me, personally, feel very good.
The book has a section of great recipes and appendices, solid research, and personal success stories...this one, at least, doesn't feel like a fad diet....more info
- Chase it, catch it, eat it..
My Doctor recommended this diet. It's a decent book and diet although as is always the case I find it improbable to follow every tenent and some I just choose not to follow, like no coffee and only 3 eggs.
But I've managed still to loose 15 lbs in 3 weeks, although if I was able to avoid all the NO foods I would have lost more....more info
- Ohhhweeeohhh, Paleo: A Diet So Easy Even An American Can Do It!
As one of the classic diet and health books to ever be written, this one surely stand the test of time because it is based on the diet of our "hunter-gatherer" ancestors. Or, as Dr. Loren Cordain puts it, this is "the diet you were designed to eat."
Health and weight loss await you as you take your eating habits literally back to the Stone Age consuming foods like fish, meats, fresh fruit, and non-starchy veggies in virtually unlimited quantities can bring about weight loss and prevent such health calamities as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, and more. Although there are a few subtle differences between the Paleo Diet and more mainstream low-carb diets such as Atkins, the premise is the same-reduce your carbs, control the insulin, and improve health dramatically!
You'll get a history behind why all those other diets have failed, a detailed explanation about why the Paleo Diet will work, lists of foods you can eat as well as foods you shouldn't eat, and a plan of action that includes six weeks of sample menus and recipes that will have you eating like a caveman. In fact, this diet is so easy even an American can do it!...more info
- Good eating plan
I'd like to take a moment and congratulate Mr. Cordain on a great diet plan, but also stress the differences between his diet and my Evolution Diet. While the books are similar in concept- eating like we were designed to eat- there are some major differences that readers should note before forming any opinion of either.
First off, the Paleo Diet recommends all natural, healthy foods- foods that one could find while walking around in nature: vegetables, fruits, animal meats (Cordain promotes lean meats) and the like. This certainly mirrors a Stone-Age person's diet, at least one who has the benefit of modern farming and shipping.
The Evolution Diet on the other hand, includes some slightly-processed foods with all-natural ingredients, such as cheese, skim milk, whole-grain breads/crackers as well as the foods listed above. We believe that these foods are close enough structurally to natural foods, that we promote them as healthy additions to your diet. Cordain rightly sees these foods as artificial to an extent and wants you to avoid them (those with allergies to these foods may already be doing so).
Another discrepancy is that The Evolution Diet describes 'when' to eat certain foods, not just 'what' to eat. This is integral to perfect health and is lacking, unfortunately, in "The Paleo Diet".
Aside from that, "The Paleo Diet" is a great eating plan and one can achieve a very healthy lifestyle if one follows this plan.
To our health!...more info
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