Friday, January 13, 2012

An Introduction to The Paleo Diet & Primal Living

There are many contrasting philosophies when it comes to diet and exercise.

The low-fat, high-carb thinking is a thing of the past, and it’s ineffective. Research proves that a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet is not the answer to looking or feeling good. In addition, our notions about exercise are flawed as well.

There are two great books worth reading that clear up all the nutritional noise and exercise mayhem that’s out there.

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The first book is The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf. Having grown up in a family full of illness and surgeries due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, Robb was determined to defy the fate of his parents. He got his degree in biochemistry, was a California State Powerlifting Champion, and had become a devout vegetarian.

Robb candidly described another motive behind his vegetarian tendencies in The Paleo Solution: “My move toward vegetarianism carried the ‘prize’ of hippy girls,” he admitted. “Hippy girls who tended to be both vegetarian and pretty hot. I traded in my BBQ grill for a rice steamer and pressure cooker. As a bonus, I scored a host of medical problems.”

Through his own struggle with crippling health problems, Robb achieved nutritional enlightenment. Struggling with high blood pressure, “debilitating” depression, and a myriad of other illnesses by the time he was 26, Robb studied at top macrobiotic institutes and spoke to countless experts in the fields of both Eastern and Western medicine, who could not understand why a normal young man eating a practically ‘perfect’ vegetarian diet of hearty whole grains, beans and tofu, and tons of fresh vegetables, was, quite simply, near death.

At last, Robb abandoned everything he had learned from the best schools and doctors, ditched the government-recommended complex carb meals, and took instead to eating…meat: beef, pork, chicken and fish.

As politically incorrect as it sounds to some people, the bottom line is, the human body needs the protein, fat and nutrients that you get from meat. You will not get what you need from fruit and vegetables alone.

Aside from incorporating meat into his diet, Robb eliminated grains and dairy, and embraced the gluten-free Paleo diet, based on what our ancestors, the hunters and gatherers, ate.

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Now in excellent health, Robb, above, coaches athletes at the highest levels of competition and consults with Olympians and world champions in mixed martial arts, triathlon and other sports. He has dedicated his life to educating others on the power of going Paleo.

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Mixed martial artist Glen Cordoza is one of Robb’s most vocal advocates. “Like most people that have been sold on the food pyramid or other diets that stress whole grain products, I met the Paleo diet with harsh criticism,” he said. “I questioned everything, and was highly skeptical. I mean, who was this guy telling me that whole wheat and grains are bad for you? It went against everything that I’ve been taught. He told me the benefits that I would receive and suggested that I try it out for a month to see if it worked. I did, and almost immediately I felt like a new man.”

“Now that I have been a student of his for two years, I no longer consider Paleo a diet,” Glen said. “It has become a lifestyle.”

But what if I’m a vegetarian, you may be asking.

Get over it. I converted to vegetarianism once. It lasted seven days and I hated it the whole time. It wasn’t a health decision on my part by the way, it was an ethical dilemma. I just felt it was wrong the way our world abuses and uses innocent animals. I wanted to take a stand against corporate farming. Now I make a statement by supporting companies that have integrity. I buy my meats from intelligent, humane sources, such as U.S. Wellness Meats, where sustainability and biodiversity are maintained.

Look for an upcoming article on lifelong farmer and founder of U.S. Wellness Meats, John Wood. He’s a true visionary.

The Paleo Solution also discusses the importance of exercise–specifically, smart cardio and flexibility–in addition to strength training for muscle mass. And finally, every good girl needs her sleep.

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Forrest Griffin, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion said Robb “helped me understand just how critical diet and sleep can be to your overall health and life.”

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The second book you must know about is The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson. Mark is founder of MarksDailyApple.com, a health and fitness blog with three million monthly page views.

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At age 55, Mark has an amazing body and an incredibly hot 53-year-old wife, Carrie. They practice what they preach, and it shows.

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Carrie’s body is not the result of plastic surgery, but rather, what they call Primal Living. She’s given birth to two kids and looks better at age 53 than many teenagers I’ve seen.

Primal Living is basically eating Paleo–it’s a diet rich in fats, high in quality protein, filled with fresh produce, and devoid of the “healthy” grains, which are, in fact, contrary to good health…but this approach allows dairy.

The plan must include sensible exercise, such as some cardiovascular work, weights and yoga…

And again, adequate sleep is key.

“Since we started focusing on Primal Living,” Carrie said, “I feel better and am stronger than any other time in my life.”

Visit BSSTW next Friday as I unearth more about the Paleo Diet and arm you with your first nutrition assignment: grocery shopping, and cleaning out your kitchen. It’s out with the old and in with the new, in 2012.

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