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30 November 2010

Read A Fucking Book, Already: Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf

Few facets of our daily lives are dominated so wholly by trends than dieting and nutrition.  Diets seemingly go through rapid shifts in popularity throughout the years, and without question one of the biggest trends in nutrition today is the paleolithic/ancestral/caveman diet.  I've blogged at some length about the history of the paleo diet and its apparent efficacy, utilizing a variety of texts on the subject, all of which seemed to be at odds with one another.  Though all of them provided some manner of anecdotal evidence to support their claims, and in some cases described the deleterious effects of certain modern foods on the body in some detail, none of them offered the comprehensive, heavily cited, and engaging and well written-but-denser-than-a-fucking-black hole Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf.  Thus, I present to you what I consider to be the seminal work on paleolithic dieting.

Short Synopsis
Pros:
  • heavily cites archaeology, nutritional texts, and anecdotal evidence.
  • he explains that paleolithic man was healthier because of his lifestyle, not just due to food choices.
  • explicitly states that this should not become some sort of idiotic life-defining, quasi-religious excuse for people to whine like bitches and proselytize about their food choices.
  • his writing style is both intelligent and conversational, making it far easier to read than most nutritional texts, while providing ample support for his suppositions.
  • he adapts the paleolithic lifestyle to that of modern man- i.e. he takes into account people are going to party and their jobs consist of sitting around all day doing nothing, and explains how to work a paleo lifestyle into that. 
Cons:
  • the workout section's more or less worthless- it's designed for your average coach-potato shitbag, not people who have a vested interest in being awesome.
  • he fails to get into the wildly impressive physical feats of paleolithic man, outside of a short bit lifted pretty much directly from Manthropology.
The John Holmes (i.e. Long) Treatment
Given that I could find fault with nearly anything anyone but Teddy Roosevelt has done, that's a pretty short list of cons.  I loved this book and ate it up.  As such, I'll give you guys some of the highlights from the book, and then you can read it for yourself:
  • he started out as a competitive athlete, then became a vegan because he (like I, which I thoroughly enjoyed) loved fucking dirty hippies.  Though I'd never take it to that extreme, I appreciated the fact that he go so into veganism that he was seeking semi-spiritual advice from vegetarian gurus at one point.  That story's actually pretty amusing.
  • After he stared death right in the fucking eye due to his idiotic foray into herbavorism, he spat in the Grim Reaper's face, got a degree in nutrition, and took a steaming shit on conventional nutritional wisdom, as any intelligent, free-thinking person should do as a matter of course.
  • He explains in great detail, the reasons why grains are particularly bad for you, but gives interesting and scientific reasoning for why rice and corn are ok to eat on occasion, which is something no other paleo writer has done.  To sum up his stance against grains, all grains contain lectins and protease inhibitors, which means that giant protein molecules end up punching holes through your intestinal walls and contribute to a wide array of literally shitty GI problems after you eat them.
  • He describes in great detail the metabolism of carbohydrates and explains how its the combination of sugars and fats that leads to arteriosclerosis.  Additionally, he scientifically ascribes virtually every medical problem plaguing modern humans on excessive carbohydrate consumption.  Excessive carbs force your body to flood itself with insulin, and hyperinsulinism is a factor in or the root of most prevalent diseases, including cancer.  It contributes to cancer by blocking the natural process by which your body regulates growth of abnormal cells, by the way.  
  • Though he glosses over the deleterious effects of legumes and dairy (presumably to prevent losing his readers by providing too much information, he gives some citations that offer answers to why those foods are also off the table, pun fucking intended.
  • He explains the negative effects of modern living on our cortisol levels, which contributes to a variety of metabolic problems.  He pointed out a couple of stressors that wouldn't immediately pop into one's head, like having a healthy and rich social life.  He also gives a decent, Paul Chek-esque explanation for how and why sleep is so important, which I found enlightening.
  • He gives the recipe for the infamous NorCal margarita, and explains why all of the included ingredients are there.  Curious?  
The Infamous NorCal Margarita
2 shots of gold tequila
Juice of 1 lime (the whole damn thing)
Splash of soda water

" There is some chemistry behind the recommendations.  The lime juice blunts insulin release and the CO2 bubbles in the soda water act as what's called a "nonpolar solvent." This actually lextracts the alcohol from the drink and delivers it to your system faster.  Better living through chemistry!" (139)
  • He goes on to mention that alcohol isn't paleo, but au contraire, my friends- being the nerd I am, I have evidence that disproves this:  studies of the Bertram palm show that it contains "alcohol concentrations in the nectar , and found that nectar inside the bud contained up to 3.8% alcohol (roughly equivalent to beer)."(Hodge)
  • Finally, Wolf rounds out the book with a treatment on protein choices and a list of decent recipes.
Did I mention Sarah B is a paleo dieter?

Think what you will about paleo dieting, but the shit seems to work, and Wolf's arguments supporting it are definitely compelling.  If you're at all interested in this type of diet, and you've no plans to purchase this book, you've failed at life. Get this book and caveman it the fuck up. 
Sources:
Hodge, Anne-Marie.  "Boozing Treeshrews:  Heavyweight drinkers in Small Packages."  Nature.com.  http://blogs.nature.com/amch/2010/05/02/anthropological-studies-suggest-that-low-level
Wolf, Robb.  Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet.  2010

39 comments :

  1. Cool shit Jamie, I was wondering what you thought of Robb's work.

    I'm just curious did you learn anything new/awesome from reading it anything in the book like something that'll change the way you eat/exercise.

    BTW just found this the other day, you might want to take a look.

    http://robbwolf.com/2009/10/08/crossfit-on-a-low-carb-paleo-diet-mat-lalonde-reporting/

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  2. Other than the fact that he called fructose a toxin, which is patently ridiculous, I found it pretty much in line with my thoughts.

    In re new/awesome stuff, the shit on stressors and on corn and rice was definitely new to me.

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  3. I also found the bits on carbohydrate addiction and the explanation of hyperinsulinism to be interesting and compelling.

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  4. Hippie girls? Can't say I see the appeal, aside from trying to fuck some sense into them.

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  5. My big question on all this Paleo stuff is, if the disease-carbohydrate intake link is so compelling, why hasn't the medical community prescribed or suggested paleo diets? How has basically the entire medical community managed to overlook this epidemiological link?

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  6. Anon-

    Because it works, that is why.

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  7. Hippie girls are freaks, generally fun to hang around with, and always holding something.

    Anon- They're starting to- they're recommending it for a variety of ailments of late.

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  8. You have inappropriately used the idiom "so to speak." Let me suggest a change that suits your writing style:
    "...answers to why those foods are also off the table, pun fucking intended."

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  9. Hey Jamie.
    I have a few friends notoriously swearing to the paleo-diet. I do not deny that it's a great diet and that its probarbly pretty damn good for you, but I would like guys behind the paleo-diet to think a little bit about all the negative shit that is the effects of urbanism instead of only thinking about the common diet.
    A longer life increase the risk of getting cancer (we live around 2-3 timers longer than the average caveman), now the weaklings also get children, so It's no longer survival of the fittest (back in the days we would leave them behind for the grizzlies), ecotoxic agents are building up through the foodchain and even if you live by the paleo diet you still get all sorts of crap into your system, like mercury from fish or PCB.
    I like the diet but I think a lot of the medical arguments for following it are weak at best.



    Best Regards

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  10. Hey Jamie, you have to read this if you haven't already http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/EvolutionPaleolithic/Cereal%20Sword.pdf

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  11. Look up Advanced Glycosylation End Products. If you control your blood sugar with nutrients such as vanadyl sulfate and chromium (also magnesium) you can slow skin aging dramatically. Once glucose remains in the bloodsteam for too long, it may bind proteins wreaking havoc on cells.

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  12. Lars- The lifespan can be explained by their lifestyle, not diet. Our lives are cushy as fuck, and we've really got no outside threats- our battles are literally internal. I agree with most of the rest of your statement, though.

    Damien- Thanks!

    Above Anon- So I did. An edit is in order.

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  13. Anon again: Some copy and pastes from my notes for an upcoming intro to physiolgy exam:

    The fact that very much like Chemotherapy, Glycation attacks the cells of the body that replicate its DNA at a high turnover rate such as the hair, skin and joints. This explains hair loss via Chemotherapy as well as joint pain that's very common in most. Alzheimer's has now been identified as insulin resistance of the brain.

    Glycation end products (AGEs) cause atherosclerosis via elevation of LDL levels, disrupting the LDL:HDL ratio and causes the secretion of cytokines that promote plaque formation in blood vessel walls.

    These AGEs also cause
    -nephropathy (damage to kidneys)
    - neuropathy- e.g in the baroceptor reflex (peripheral nervous system)
    -if nerves in this reflex are damaged, the body can’t respond properly to changes in blood pressure like when standing up.
    (orthostaic hypotension causes fainting)

    Other problems include: Advanced Skin Damage, (most women over 30 see these two staring back at themselves in the mirror everyday)... Cushing's Syndrome, Adrenal Fatigue, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer of every type, Uric Acid Production (Kidney Stones) Ovarian Cysts, Hormonal Imbalances especially in women.


    I regulate my blood glucose levels (kind of weird for a 19 year old) and have peace of mind as a result.

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  14. "heavily cites archaeology, nutritional texts, and anecdotal evidence." This is a pro?

    FFS, you paleotards go ahead and buy all the $80 paleo protein powder Mark Scisson can sell you. Then learn how to eat and still look awesome.

    http://www.leangains.com/2010/08/intermittent-fasting-meals-part-two.html

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  15. alright besides it being nonpaleo, should i try to avoid dairy? ive heard it has a high GI but its an easy source of protein.

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  16. With regards to DeKay,

    Hahaha, if 5 pounds of steak isn't "eating" then I don't know what the fuck is, faggot.

    And yeah, citing nutritional texts and the results people get IS a pro when you're talking about nutrition, you dumb piece of shit.

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  17. Dray

    You're making it obvious that eating paleo affects reading comprehension. See the burgers and fries? The oatmeal? The pizza? The three fucking bowls of cereal? These are regular PWO meals, not cheat meals. So take that anecdotal evidence and blow it out your ass.

    Or just take it from the "keto guy" himself:
    "Assuming caloric intake can be controlled (and protein is adequate of course), shuffling of carbs and fats tends to have a minor, approaching negligble effect."

    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/is-a-calorie-a-calorie.html

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  18. That website is really interesting.
    I don't really follow a super-strict "diet" per se, but I try to eat very simple things, with an emphasis on protein and fats (i.e. meat), with the occasional high carb day.
    I might start implementing some of the stuff on that site.

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  19. Is fucking and eating out fat chicks the same as being on a keto diet and lifting heavy weight?
    If so, I am doing it right

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  20. Dairy is not high g.i.

    It is high on the Insulinemic index.

    Lactose itself is low g.i. I assume the protein type in milk is fast digesting. Maybe the whey is hydrolyzed or something.

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  21. I've read a wide array of shit of late that completely discounts GI, as there are too many mitigating factors on GI to make it worthwhile to track.

    To Dekay- It's amusing that you decry the reading comprehensions skills of others while calling anyone who reads this blog a paleotard, given that none of us are strict paleo dieters. Additionally, I highly doubt you'll find many Scisson readers around here.

    In re dairy, the only dairy I consume is in the form of shakes, which contain little or no lactose and generally include a wide array of proteins. If you want something more paleo, you can always go with Beverly's proteins, which contain beef protein, or Carnivor.

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  22. DeKay.
    IF works for some people but other people get put off by the fact that you have to starve yourself for 16 Fucking HOURS!

    Who the fuck said anything about buying that overpriced Primal Fuel...?

    And for himself writing a book on keto dieting, now Lyle hates on keto/low carb more than anyone.

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  23. Funny that DeKay says that bit about reading comprehension, because if my diet gives me bad reading comprehension, it's worth noting that I don't eat paleo, hahaha. My breakfast just a while ago was beans, corn, a small amount of leftover mashed potatoes, and an asston of meat fried together, with olives on the side and devoured with a glass of milk.

    Certainly not paleo, I just support the paleo diet because it fucking makes sense. I like things that make sense.

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  24. Hey Dekay why don't you actually read through some more of intermittent fasting on leangains.com.

    Leangains system advocates "paleo" type whole-foods for leaning out..

    If you read some more on the website you'll see the food that people usually eat is usually veggies + meat + stuff like cottage cheese.

    The burger and fries is not a regular post work out meal. The dude who ate that, did it after a 48 hour fast or some shit which he said himself. The points there about post work out is simply that after fasting 16 hours your body should handle the carbs better. I do this fasting myself..

    So please.. Don't diss paleo. Dissing hippies is ok though!

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  25. Oh yeah but people who do take up paleo as some sort of religion, well, fuck 'em. I'll have my pizza, burger, and fries as well as my strictly beef+broccoli meals. Who cares. ;)

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  26. http://asp.elitefts.com/qa/training-logs.asp?qid=132861&tid=63

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  27. Jamie was there anything i wrote that you didnt know about Glycation or AGEs?

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  28. That was actually all covered in the book.

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  29. That elite lifts training log was pretty fucking funny.

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  30. In re the pullup post, I remember being at a barbecue during which my 50-something alcoholic ex-Marine uncle set his scotch on a log and jumped up on a pullup bar and did 10 two-finger chinups. Guy had some forearms on him. Quite a grip strength evidently. In re the diet thing, I used to love going over to his house because he'd slow cook huge beef tenderloins and serve them with party-size platters of Stouffer's macaroni and cheese.

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  31. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RtNNWwuIKw&feature=channel

    What a fucking tool!
    Spartan workout. lmao

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  32. I'm with Jim on this, just eat balanced and control your calorie intake depending on your goals and stop focusing on this whole paleo shit (or any other fad diet for that matter).

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  33. This will take care of all your nutrition needs.
    http://glenmaccharles.blogspot.com/2010/12/nutrition-advice.html

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  34. Hah !! Awesome

    Congrats Jamie

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