Living Paleo: 2 Years and Counting…

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I’ve been on The Paleo Diet for 2 years now and I’ve never felt better in my life. I’ve noticed significant improvements in my overall mood, energy levels, and mental focus. Aside from that, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. What’s more is that these changes took place relatively soon after I started eating Paleo, and while they occurred quickly, they’ve also been developing over time.

For those who don’t know, The Paleo Diet (in short) advocates consuming protein, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats, and avoiding carbs and sugars (bread, pasta, flour, rice, candy, etc.). The reasoning behind this is that our genes are relatively slow to change, and that farming (within the whole context of human history) is a relatively recent invention, and sugar consumption, if it took place at all in the ancient world, was seasonal.

There are many different slight variations of this diet, but the one I agree with most, and have been following, is that proposed by Art De Vany, one of the originators of The Paleo Diet, and an economist, author, researcher of stochastic processes. His is actually called “The New Evolution Diet”. It is essentially Paleo, with a focus on intermittency in eating and in life. He advocates small bouts of fasting (perhaps skipping one meal a week… i.e., eating twice instead of three times a day) as well as living a Paleo life: small doses of high intensity workouts (be it mental or physical), and large relaxation/recovery periods. As I mentioned, I’ve been adhering to this, and I’ve never felt better. I’ve never felt healthier or more productive. Here is a short video by Art describing his diet/way of life:

IOf course your body is complex. And of course, everyone has different genetics. But there is something important to be said about Paleo. We are human. We should align our lives with our genetics. We should work with nature rather than against her. And it just so happens that nature did not intend for us to eat sugar in high quantities. And high quantities doesn’t just mean the candies, sodas, etc. in addition to our base diet. It also means the carbs, because carbs by definition are sugar (i.e., multiple sugar units linked together).

While sugars and carbs aren’t healthy for you, you also can’t avoid them altogether. You invariably get some carbs from vegetables, and from fruits (especially modern fruits which are bred to be very high in sugar). The point here is keeping the intake very low. At some point in the future I may decide to increase my carb intake, say once a week, but I honestly don’t see a point… I don’t enjoy spaghetti or bread anymore (and that means a lot coming from someone who is half Italian). It wasn’t those things that I liked anyway, but rather the sauce and what you put in the sandwich. Spaghetti and bread are just fillers. And there are substitutes. Spaghetti squash is my favorite spaghetti replacement. And almond flour is an incredible replacement for regular flour. But, despite the fact that I may never personally go back to carbs, I think it’s totally reasonable to eat them sparingly. After all, as the saying goes, it’s the dose that makes the poison.

Some links and resources I highly recommend:

Carbs/sugar, Insulin resistance, & Autoimmune diseases:
http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2011/11/taubes_on_fat_s.html
http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/07/taubes_on_why_w.html

Depression: http://www.artdevanyonline.com/1/post/2012/12/depression-first-heal-the-brain.html

A beginners guide: http://www.artdevanyonline.com/1/post/2012/12/the-beginners-guide-to-evolutionary-fitness.html

Over-exercise & the dangers of running: http://www.artdevanyonline.com/1/category/death%20by%20exercise/1.html

 

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