My wife jokingly calls me a “Food Nazi”, but only five years ago I put just about as much importance on what I ate as the typical person going through the drive-thru every day. Starting in grade school we are taught to eat from all the USDA’s food groups, that everything is okay in moderation, calories are calories, and other nonsense recommendations, from people that haven’t seen the research. Then we turn around and are told to blame grandma for giving us those bad genes that give us diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, to name just a few. On top of that, we get a different story about what we should or shouldn’t eat depending on which “expert” we talk to that day. Since the “experts” don’t agree, and I was told my genes controlled my health, I, like most other people, didn’t put much weight into what I ate or how that would affect my overall health. That was until I started looking at the actual research for myself, and stopped listening to the mainstream recommendations.
Over four years ago I was watching a documentary on HBO about the relationship between Alzheimer’s and inflammation. Around that time I was starting to hear more and more about the connection between inflammation and chronic disease (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.), and the Alzheimer’s documentary was one more thing pointing in that direction. So I asked myself, “If inflammation causes disease, then what can we do to decrease inflammation?” The first place I looked was to our diet. I began to study nutrition-related research looking for ways to decrease inflammation with the ultimate goal of improving health and reducing chronic disease. What I found has changed my life.
I found something I never could have imagined, CONSISTENCY! Although the recommendations from the researchers and doctors all varied, the research findings consistently pointed in the same direction. Some things it pointed to are: controlling blood sugar, regulating pH, and balancing the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. To accomplish this, I began eating a diet of fruits, vegetables, and meat, while eliminating processed foods, grains, and dairy. Soon I would realize why the science points to this type of diet.
Every species requires a specific diet to experience health. If they do not eat that diet, they will get sick. That principle applies to us, too! As I continued to study this topic, I came across a way of eating based on our diet before the development of agriculture. This hunter-gatherer way of eating has been called primal or innate, but it is most commonly known as the Paleo diet, named after our Paleolithic ancestors. These hunter-gatherers would have eaten fruits, vegetables and wild animals. Amazingly enough, this was basically the diet (except for the wild animals) I had been eating based on the research I had found! After becoming educated on the Paleo lifestyle, it immediately became clear to me why all the research points to this type of diet—this is our species’ diet.
By the way, our genes haven’t changed since we lived in Paleolithic times, and we didn’t have the sickness during that time that we see today. So, I guess, grandma, you’re off the hook!
When I changed my diet, I could immediately feel the difference that it made. I now have more energy, a greater ability to concentrate, decreased cravings, and almost never get sick. I have also been pleased to see similar health improvements in my patients who have adopted this lifestyle. Although I didn’t see the link between our diet and health five years ago, it is very apparent to me now.
Join me on Thursday March 14th at 6:30 as I cover the basics of what our diet should look like and why. Although this class is free to attend, the seating is limited so please call us to reserve your seat.