Disclaimer
• Your life and health are your own responsibility.
• Your decisions to act (or not act) based on information or advice anyone provides you—including me—are your own responsibility.

Categories

There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine”

How many times have we all heard this, or its equivalent?

“Sure, everyone knows soda and candy aren’t good for you…but why should I give up bread, pasta, muffins, and all that other wonderful stuff? I’m doing fine.

You can substitute any non-paleo foods of your choice, and you can phrase it a different way, but they’re all variations of the same question: “Why should I go to all the trouble to avoid almost everything in the grocery store and at restaurants, when I’m healthy and I feel fine?”

The implication is clear: “Sure, I know you’ve got some health problems and you need to be all weird about what you eat, but that’s because you’re abnormal. The rest of us live on that stuff, and we’re doing fine.

If I had to communicate one concept to the world at large—one reason to eat like a predator—it would be this:


There is an entire level of daily existence above “I’m doing fine.”

This is not to say that everyone in the world can suddenly stop taking all their medication and flaunt their new six-pack at the beach! What I mean is: there are many, many annoyances we take for granted as part of aging, or part of life, that are actually consequences of an evolutionarily inappropriate diet of birdseed (known as “grains”) and birdseed extracts (known as “vegetable oils“).

Are You Sure You’re Healthy? Half Of America Takes Prescription Medication

First, are you sure you’re healthy? Half the people in America (47.9%) took at least one prescription drug in the last month, one in five (21.4%) took three or more, and the numbers increase each year. (Source: CDC FastStats, “Therapeutic Drug Use”)

Figure 1

We can’t blame this entirely on old people living longer, either: 48.3% of people 20-59 are taking at least one prescription drug, right in line with the average.

Figure 2

These drugs are almost all used to treat chronic disease. The top five classes of prescribed medication are: 1. Lipid regulators (statins and other cholesterol-lowering drugs), 2. Antidepressants, 3. Narcotic analgesics (pain relievers), 4. Beta blockers (blood pressure drugs), 5. ACE inhibitors (blood pressure drugs). (The full list can be found here.)

Are You Sure You’re “Fine”?

Even if you’re not on prescription medication right now, are you really “fine”?

  • Do you need caffeine in order to wake up in the morning, or not fall asleep after lunch?
  • Do you still suffer from acne? Headaches? Acid reflux?
  • How about stiffness and joint pain? Gas and bloating?
  • Do you sleep through the night?
  • How quickly do you go through that bottle of Tylenol or Aleve? How about the cortisone, to deal with that random itchy, flaky skin?
  • Are you convinced that you must continually restrict your eating to maintain a healthy bodyweight—let alone the body composition you want?
  • What’s that stuff hanging over the top of your belt? Even if you don’t care about your appearance, imagine how much lighter on your feet you’d feel if you didn’t have to carry around that extra twenty pounds.
  • Can you go more than five hours without food, without becoming weak and shaky?

Biochemical Individuality: Everyone Is Different (within limits)

Not everyone starts with the same problems…and not everyone will see the same improvements. Furthermore, while I’ve never heard of anyone experiencing anything but positive effects from removing birdseed (“grains”) and birdseed extracts (“vegetable oils”) from their diet, it can take months of experimentation and tweaking to find out what types and proportions of Paleo foods produce the best results for you.

For example, we have the ongoing Potato Wars: some people (often the young, male, and/or athletic) radically improve their performance and mood by increasing their starch intake, while others (often older and/or female) find that there’s no such thing as a “safe starch”.

While I personally consume an approximately Perfect Health Diet level of starch, and I view their recommendations as an excellent baseline for beginning your own experimentation, I’m also an athletic male who has never been fat—so I don’t feel the need to evangelize my own potato consumption to those with a radically different hormonal environment.

Frankly, I find the religious fervor somewhat disturbing—and I can’t resist the observation that (with the exception of Paul Jaminet, whose sense of humor still slays me every time) the most vocal proponents of high starch intake tend to be somewhat…starchy. Lighten up! There’s no Low Carb Mafia enforcer waiting to assassinate you, and the Low Carb Boogeyman isn’t going to pop out from under your bed and force-feed you with butter until the Ketostix turn purple.

As for myself, I’m much more concerned with reaching the hundreds of millions of people who still think margarine and whole-grain bagels are healthy.

So don’t be discouraged if your health issues don’t immediately vanish, or you reach a weight loss plateau. It took decades of unhealthy eating to cause your problems…don’t expect healthy eating to fix everything in a week or two. (Or even a couple months…I was still experiencing perceptible improvements after nine months.)

My Own Level Beyond “I’m Doing Fine”

Here are some unexpected improvements I’ve seen in my own life. (Warning: N=1 ahead.)

  • I used to be “that guy.” If I didn’t get to eat every 3-4 hours, I became cranky, snappish, and no fun to be around. Now I often fail to eat for 18 hours or more, simply because I’m not hungry.
         I can’t overemphasize how liberating it is to not have to find and ingest calories every few hours. Not only does it make traveling much easier…I have more useful hours in my day, and when I become engrossed in work or play, I don’t have to stop prematurely because I’m hungry.
  • I’ve never been fat, but I still lost about an inch around my waist…which must have been visceral fat, because there wasn’t much subcutaneous fat to lose.
  • After about a year, I noticed that the dark circles under my eyes were gone.
  • I don’t fall asleep after lunch anymore.
  • Acne is rare. So is itchiness.
  • I sunburn far less easily.
  • My dental health has improved dramatically.
  • Life is more enjoyable when I don’t feel guilty for eating delicious food.
  • It’s difficult to quantify, but my baseline mood is improved. I am happier and more confident than I’ve ever been.

Result: I’m in the best physical and mental shape of my life. I don’t feel “fine”: I feel great. Some days I even feel unstoppable. And while I still experience all the usual setbacks, like unrequited love, insufficient money, and dysfunctional bureaucracies, they don’t seem to crush me like they used to…

…and that’s why I still eat like a predator.


There is an entire level of daily existence above “I’m doing fine.”

Live in freedom, live in beauty.

JS


Yes, this is what being human is supposed to feel like. Help me out, readers: what unexpected improvements have you seen, and how can we best communicate this to others? Please leave a comment—and consider forwarding this to anyone you’ve been unable to get through to by other means. The share widget is below.

Bookmark and Share

92 comments

Permalink: There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine”
  • […] Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine” GNOLLS.ORG / Posted on: February 11, 2013 GNOLLS.ORG – How many times have we all heard this, or its equivalent? “Sure, everyone knows soda […]

  • Mitch

    Great article, spot-on. Highlights the fallacy of “reforming” health care.

    We do not have a health care system. We have a sick care system. Yes there is waste and fraud, and ACO’s, digitization and what-not will help and Obama Care is a big step in the right directon. And to be fair some of the work that can be accomplished is near miraculous.

    Nonetheless, the sick care system is being overwhelmed by a tsunami of illness. Too much carbs (especially sugar and HFCS) plus bad oils plus too little protein equals too much insulin, inlfamation and then chronic illness and obesity. (Obesity does not cause diabetes. It is a co-morbidity driven by insulin driven by…)

    Like you, I feel great though I am still on my journey and still improving.

  • neal matheson

    Nicely put, you are a class act J. Hopefully some of the other paleo people might notice. I personally find getting the starch balance very hard. My energy output is quite high but it is erratic and I really don’t want to “tank” in a boxing session. I have recently upped my carbs with that in mind and put on a fair bit of weight, despite feeling driven to exercise far more than I usually do.
    I have a fair bit of work to do reconciling “eating like a predator” with “training like a warrior”

  • Beowulf

    Great article! There is definitely a level above “doing fine.” I think it’s sad that so many Americans are slogging through life with mild to moderate health problems that we think THAT is the baseline of health and that only the really sick have issues.

    After two years of paleo-style eating, I love having more energy (I bounce off the walls most days), my acne is virtually non-existant (except for that pesky time of the month), my tendency for being mildly to moderately depressed/anxious has been reduced, and I can go 6+ hours without eating if I need to without experiencing an energy crash like I used to.

    There are still things to optimize, though, so I haven’t forgotten about steps 5 and 6 of “Eat Like a Predator.” I know my sleep quality could be better, I’m working on incorporating more ancestral-like workouts inspired by MovNat, and my grandmother is always wondering what new, tasty recipe I’m trying out.

    It’s nice to know that life is about more than just making it from day to day. It’s about living!

  • Marc

    Hi JS,

    50%???? I knew it was a lot, but had no idea it was actually half the population. But upon further looksies….. Take out the kids and the number gets even more frightening. Maybe now people understand why big pharma is truly big pharma.

    I’m also very happy with “As for myself, I’m much more concerned with reaching the hundreds of millions of people who still think margarine and whole-grain bagels are healthy. “

    That’s very much inline with how I try and help family and good friends.
    My sister who tries to keep her weight under control by “dieting” (she’s a very smart and successful attorney and m here little brother (45) who doesn’t know anything, eats soup very frequently for lunch. She loves those little cup thingies from Campbell’s….
    Take a look at the ingredients of their healthy tomato soup.
    Tomato purée
    Water
    Tomato paste
    High fructose corn syrup
    Wheat flour
    Mixture of birdseed oils….cotton seed, soy, canola etc
    Soy protein concentrate (this is really MSG)
    Enzyme modified butter ( what the F is that?)
    Butter flavor
    Milk flavor
    Etc
    Etc
    Etc

    I’m not kidding….my wonderful sister whom I love very much, truly doesn’t believe these things are harmful (perhaps not eaten once…. But for years?).
    She’s a really smart cookie…

    We can be sad and frustrated about it….or do something about it. I choose trying to help.
    I don’t mind the ridiculing and the name calling, I win every argument in this little courtroom and the response I finally get is usually child like….”ok mr. Meat eating smarty pants…..maybe you should have been a Doctor” or and one ofmy all time favorites….”you are SO WEIRD…..why do you read all this stuff? You need to find a hobby” hahahaha hahahaha

    Anywho JS, as always fantastic stuff. Sorry about the long winded comment.
    Thank you.

    Marc

  • Jen W

    Neal,

     

    Yes, I'm also still working on balancing “eating like a predator” and “training like a warrior”.  It is not easy, especially since I've got this pesky tennis elbow going on right nowFrown

     

    Jen

  • neal matheson

    Healthy foods in the UK often contain added sugars even fairly benign stuff like tomatoes, I accidently ended up down the cereal aisle today. MY GOD nearly everyone of the cereals contained chocolate, sugar frosting or somesuch and all were marketed as healthy, in fact most screamed their health giving potential from the box.

  • neal matheson

    Hi Jen,
    Funnily enough my tennis or rather atlatl elbow cleared up alot after eliminating grains.
    good luck,
    Neal

  • Dan Brown

    Hi J
    I agree with the target audience you have identified and that they will be from “difficult” to “nearly impossible” to motivate. Your effort is a good one though.

    Perhaps it would be useful to compare the benefits of “feel(ing) great,” as I, a 71yo 27-year Type 2 (formerly morbidly, still obese diabetic who eats a VLCKD for weight loss and glucose control) wrote recently for an upcoming blog post: “If you eat in the way I will describe here, here’s what will “work”: 1) You will not be hungry, either before or between meals – breakfast, lunch or dinner, if you eat a small dinner that basically follows the same principles; 2) you will lose weight, typically 1 to 2 pounds a week, depending on how much you have to lose; 3) the weight you lose will include abdominal weight – the central obesity or omental adiposity that is so bad for your cardiovascular health; 4) you will “feel healthy,” have lots and lots of energy, and an elevated mood; 5) as you lose a lot of weight, any weight-related hypertension will improve; and 6) your lipid panel will definitely improve, perhaps not your Total Cholesterol and LDL lipoproteins but your HDL will increase (up to double) and your triglycerides will decrease (up to two-thirds).”

    This “reads” a little coercive to me on rereading, but I am assuming my reader knows they have a problem(s) similar to mine, or what mine were, and is already motivated to change. I also assume that they “know” that their problems are food and diet related.

    Perhaps the parallels or at least similarities will be usefull to you as you hone how to communicate your message. On balance, though, I think you have a much tougher target audience, as you already know.

  • tess

    The words i want to use, to describe the difference in how i feel, have been hijacked — “amazing” is the best one, but i can put a twist on my sister’s catch-word and settle for AWE-INSPIRING…. And i started out from low-carb! It was by going grain- and dairy-free that i found liberation from the stiffness and joint pain which other people of my age merely think due to the passage of time.

    You understand the starch-wars well! In my own n=1 it turns out the more hours i walk per day, the more carbohydrate i can “afford” to eat — i learned this while on vacation over the winter, trudging up and down Seattle’s hills and having to generate a lot of personal heat on those damp chilly days. But who has time for that much exercise if they’ve also got a job and a life? And if one’s mitochondrial situation is under-par, the exhaustion will set in long before the “excess” starch-sourced sugar is burnt off. A lot of people have to normalize their energy production long before they can increase their output.

    So thank you yet again, J! I LOVE your blog!

  • Brian Beaven

    I liked your article and enjoyed reading the other comments. I suffered from the same pains as you while eating like prey. The only pains I suffer from eating as a predator are the pains from over training. I feel so good I constantly want to be on the move.

    Best of luck on the love and money. I don’t have much hope for bureaucracy.

  • Michelle

    My improvements:
    (1) In my first three years of eating healthy, I did not GET SICK ONCE. However, I also started exercising more and sleeping better, so the factors were convoluted. I have gotten sick a few times in the past few years, but it’s been less frequent and less severe.
    (2) Much less gas. Some veggies/fruit will still get me occasionally, but overall the problem has improved significantly.
    (3) Stable energy levels. I can go a long time without feeling hunger, and even when I do feel it, it’s easy to get past it. Note: This is not true for those at my gym doing “paleo” and crossfit. I eat a LOT, and a LOT of saturated fat when I do eat.
    (4) Easy weight maintenance. Not ripped, but look decent naked.
    (5) Definitely better dental health. I always had great checkups/no problems, but I love that my teeth don’t FEEL dirty. And I can go a day without brushing without feeling like I have sweaters on my teeth. That used to drive me nuts. It’s definitely the sugar.
    (6) No acid reflux/heartburn. This only did and still does occur when eating out or eating processed foods.
    (7) Went off the pill after being on it for about 10 years, expecting my system to be totally messed up. Perfect cycle in the first month and ever since!
    (8) Not hungry all the time. I was also one of “those people” with major sugar crashes and resulting mood swings. This is a big deal.
    (9) My nails are definitely much stronger (due presumably to the ingestion/absorption of more minerals – despite not drinking milk for calcium).
    (10) I’d like to say that my skin is beautiful, etc, but I think I need to wait until I’m 40+ to really judge how eating well is affecting my aging.

    Almost all of the above changes made a BIG difference to my daily life!

    Con:
    (1) Feeling like I’m living in a giant conspiracy theory all the time, where everyone around me has no clue that they’re actually eating cardboard.

  • Tim Lundeen

    @Jen W: check out Pete Egoscue’s work, it has made an incredible difference for me. Also Esther Gokhale. Their techniques help the whole body get aligned and work the way we are meant to work. Gokhale describes where you want to be, Egoscue makes it easy to get there.

    I took a course from Gokhale and worked on my posture/gait/sitting/etc for 3 years, and made progress. Then I went to an Egoscue clinic and in 6 weeks made more progress than in 3 years. They work very well together. Before Egoscure I couldn’t run or walk smoothly, now it all feels great.

  • Howard

    @Marc: “Soy protein concentrate (this is really MSG)”

    Actually, MSG is derived from wheat. While chemically pure MSG (which is the only form ever actually tested) doesn’t seem to be a (major) problem, any commercially-processed food with MSG in it also has gliadin, gluten, and amylopectin A in it. I found out about this after doing some research into why chicken bouillon gave me diarrhea (I wrote a blog post about that). Wheat is added to damned near *everything* because the gliadin is a powerful appetite stimulant that will make you want to eat more of something you don’t even like.

    MSG also hides under the name “Natural Flavors.”

    My general rule is that if it has to have a nutrition label on it, it probably isn’t fit to eat.

  • Paleobird

    Thank you for a great post especially the “potato wars” section. I am so freaking tired of what I call “the spud studs” on MDA going on and on about how everyone in the paleo community is “carbophobic” and how not including starches in your diet is clearly a case of disordered eating.

    Different macros work for different people. Live and let live.

  • Mitch:

    I made the point in my AHS presentation that thirty-five more years of the same dietary advice that made us fat and diabetic will bankrupt us as a nation.  We can't afford to have nutrition policy dictated by an agricultural policy that rewards massive overproduction of GMO grains by unsustainable industrial farming techniques, and we can't afford a health policy that rewards being poor and sick.

    neal:

    “I have recently upped my carbs with that in mind and put on a fair bit of weight, despite feeling driven to exercise far more than I usually do.”

    Exactly!  The Potato People insist that people like you are both dysfunctional and very rare, and that you could lose weight if you just ate nothing but potatoes.  Frankly, they sound like the “30 Ban**as a Day” fruitarian zealots: “If you don't feel great, you're either doing it wrong or it's your fault.”

    In contrast, I try to create my hypotheses based on observed reality — which says that many people find that increasing starch intake causes them to gain fat mass.

    Ideas you might find worth trying: get your starch in a big bolus, via periodic refeeds (vs. continual consumption), and try to eat as little fat as practical during the starch refeeds.

    Beowulf:

    Absolutely.  Life isn't just about looking good in a swimsuit.  It's about feeling good day to day, moment to moment…and much of that comes from living in a healthy, functional body.  It's fun to wake up in the morning and realize that I'm stronger and healthier than I've ever been.

    Mark:

    The current mainstream approach (CICO, or “calories in, calories out”) is seductively simple.  Just eat less, move more (ELMM), and you'll lose weight, right?  It's easy for a smart, analytical person with no background in biochemistry and metabolism to be seduced by this scientific-sounding dictum.

    Unfortunately, the empirical evidence is clear: CICO is false.  Calories out is not independent of the number of calories in, the type of food containing the calories in, or the micronutrients contained in the calories in.  Jamie Scott wrote a couple of solid essays on the subject here: Part I, Part II.

    More soon!

    JS

  • Jen W:

    Lateral epicondylitis is no joke.  I've been battling my own for six months, and it's only now starting to improve…very slowly.  I still have to be careful how I lift things, I can't do pullups (I have to use matched grip), and power cleans are right out.  

    In fact, power cleans are what caused it.  (Actually the “yank” of trying to let them down without dropping them, since our gym doesn't have a platform.  Hint: never do that.  Find or make a platform, or find another gym.)

    Neal:

    One of the questions I asked in The Breakfast Myth was “How did breakfast become snacks and dessert?”  Most breakfast cereal is nutritionally indistinguishable from a sugar-glazed pastry.  

    I'd love to say that paleo helped my tennis elbow, but I injured it well after going paleo.

    Dan Brown:

    Exactly.  It's easier to reach people who accept that they're sick…but it's still difficult when the medical profession 1. Insists that food has no effect on your problems, or 2. Gives advice that's actually wrong and injurious (advising diabetics to eat more carbohydrates).

    I'm glad to hear of your substantial progress!

    tess:

    “the stiffness and joint pain which other people of my age merely think due to the passage of time”

    That's a great one, and I've added it to the list.  For most people, arthritis isn't caused by “wear and tear”: the wear and tear is being caused by an inflammatory reaction.  Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can absolutely improve it…or at least stop the deterioration.

    “A lot of people have to normalize their energy production long before they can increase their output.”

    Oh, please.  Everyone knows you broke your hypothalamus by putting more than one spice on a potato.

    Brian:

    I'm glad to hear it!  Once again: this is what being human is supposed to feel like.

    More soon!

    JS

  • tess

    J: “Oh, please. Everyone knows you broke your hypothalamus by putting more than one spice on a potato.” :-D i laughed so hard my dog was even looking at me funny!

  • Michelle:

    That's a great list!  I've added “gas/bloating” to the article…many people think they're an inevitable consequence of eating food.  And the continuing popularity of antacids suggests that many more people suffer acid reflux than are taking PPIs for it.

    “I can go a day without brushing without feeling like I have sweaters on my teeth.”

    HA!  Absolutely.  When I cheat and drink soda now, I feel like half of it sticks to my teeth in the process.

    “Feeling like I'm living in a giant conspiracy theory all the time, where everyone around me has no clue that they're actually eating cardboard.”

    Eating out is the worst: I look at the entree description, then at the huge basket of bread on the table…I've found myself simply drinking a coffee, eating the little pats of butter, and fixing a real meal when I get home.

    Tim:

    Esther Gokhale is great (I know little about Pete Egoscue) — but lateral epicondylitis (“tennis elbow”) isn't a postural problem.  It's an actual tear in a particular region of the tendon that is difficult to heal.

    Howard:

    MSG can be derived from any protein high in glutamine.  Wheat and soy are generally used because they're cheap.  I wrote an entire article about the subject of “hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.” 

    You're correct that MSG derived in this way can possibly contain bioactive peptides, depending on the degree of hydrolysis.  Fortunately, the source of the hydrolyzed protein now has to be labeled, so you can at least find “hydrolyzed wheat protein” in the ingredients.  

    Note that it also hides in protein powder, under the name “glutamine peptides”.

    Paleobird:

    The annoying thing is that there are only about four of them — yet they feel compelled to comment in EVERY THREAD.  No matter what the problem is, their solution is “eat more potatoes”.

    Ironically, most of them aren't even paleo!  They're Peatarians, or followers of M*tt St*ne (the low-rent version of Ray Peat).  I have no idea why they feel compelled to plaster their propaganda all over MDA…it seems that the more bizarrely restrictive the diet, the more evangelistic people get about it.

    JS

  • Marilyn

    I wonder if some of the increase in drug usage might be attributed to increasingly aggressive drug marketing, rather than declining health of the population. (Although the health of the population might be declining as a result of all those drugs. . .)

  • pam

    ps. my n=1 conclusion:

    “this is how being healthy feels like.”

    cheers,

  • Beowulf

    @Marilyn

    I suspect that the increase in drugs is a combination of the following:

    (1) Drug companies aggressively market drugs to doctors and patients alike, and there are lots of drugs out there.

    (2) Drug companies “create” diseases to fit the drugs they manufacture.

    (3) As a society, we were highly impressed by the miracle of “magic bullet” antibiotics. Those are amazingly affective (or were, before the advent of antibiotic resistant bacteria due to overuse) as anyone who’s ever taken them can attest. Unfortunately we’ve comes to expect the same sort of miracle from anything that comes in a pill.

    (4) People are lazy. Many would rather pop the pill than do anything holistic for their problems.

    (5) Doctors don’t believe in the power of lifestyle changes (or don’t believe that anyone will actually bother), so they don’t push it much.

    (6) Even if doctors push lifestyle modifications, they are so entrenched in the old “calories in vs. calories out” and “healthy whole grains” models, that many diligent patients don’t see meaningful results.

    I could probably list more reasons, but you get the gist.

  • Victoria

    Great post. Good points.

    On the prescription front- I wonder how many of the prescriptions (at least in the younger groups) are oral contraceptive pills… Not that they’re “paleo” (and there’s a ton of arguments to be made for and against, and I won’t get into them now), but they’re not exactly a treatment for a disease (though some might argue they’re a preventative measure for a parasitic infection…)

  • Marc

    Victoria,
    Excellent point.

    Thank you Howard, good stuff and thank you JS for adding to it.

    Marc

  • Marilyn

    @Beowulf: Yes, I do “get the gist.” Along the lines of your #5 and #6, I’m guessing that another factor is that doctors are understandably concerned about making recommendations too far from the “consensus.”

    No doubt, another thing contributing to the increase in drug use is that drugs often beget the need for other drugs — additional drugs to counteract the side effects of the original drugs.

  • dave, rn

    About that tennis elbow… get some prolotherapy! Worked for me.

  • JL

    What’s even more bizarre to me is people who have or have had major health problems refusing to give paleo a try. When I first went paleo it was just an experiment on the basis of the science involved and I expected it to be temporary, like other diets. But the results were so dramatic in such a short amount of time that I found I simply no longer wanted to consume neolithic foods. So when I hear, “it’s too restrictive” I just don’t get what a month-long trial is going to cost you. I’ve stopped trying to convince anyone, though, because I think I come off as evangelical. At some point, everyone has to take responsibility for their own health. Fortunately, I don’t live in America so the health care debacle isn’t really my problem.

  • Manythings

    Thank you for a characteristically clear, rational and humorous exposition of the Great Potato Debate.

    Can I add my observation that a lot of people, both men and women, become less tolerant of sugars and starches as they move into middle age.

    I can endorse most things on your “doing fine” list – with the caveat that eating starches, even in small quantities, will quickly reverse the benefits. Cutting out grains, seeds and seed oil have done me nothing but good.

  • Marilyn

    Does anyone else ever wonder how it can be that people are taking more and more drugs alleged to reduce risk of heart problems, yet we never hear “it’s working!” ??

  • Jenny

    Hi J,

    Great article! Also, “the more restrictive the diet…the more evangelical” is so very true. I think that there is a relationship between the sort of person that “needs” to be “special” in this way, and as they restrict more and more, the capacity to be objective decreases which only make this need to feel special more acute.

    I’m a little under the weather so I don’t know how clear my comment is. :)

  • pam

    @Jen W,

    i have found Todd Hargrove’s series on pain
    very enlightening,

    they really helps me to recover for soreness & minor strains.

    http://www.bettermovement.org/

    take good care,

    (most people seem to believe that aging = pain. i don’t believe that anymore. i don’t run as fast or as long; i don’t jump as high; but that does not mean i have to live in pain.)

  • Stipetic

    Great article, J.

    You listed the top 5 prescribed drugs, however, the second most used class of drugs are the proton pump inhibitors (PPI). Since so many brands and generics are now available OTC, they don’t show up in the Rx stats. I think it is important to stess that statins and PPIs, the worlds top two selling drugs, treat a fabricated disease in the first case, and a birdseed problem in the second (bacterial overgrowth caused by wheat ingestion). Quite amazing when you think about it. No wonder the third category are antidepressants!

  • […] at Gnolls.org has an excellent article on avoiding a ‘diet of birdseed (known as “grains”) and birdseed extracts (known as “vegetable oils“)‘. Even if you’re not on prescription medication right now, are you really […]

  • John

    I have been eating Paleo for about three months now. I have seen many improvements.

    1. I now go five or six hours without being hungry after a meal.
    2. I rarely feel ups and downs in energy levels after eating and though out the day.
    3. My mental clarity is much better and I don’t struggle for words like I used to when talking.
    4. I’m more outgoing which is rather hard to quantify but I feel happier and that comes out in my behavior towards others.
    5. My energy levels are much higher and I don’t feel sluggish mid afternoon.
    6. I’m eating all this great food and having a blast cooking it. My meals never tasted soooo good!!
    7. The biggest surprise is I’ve lost 30lbs in three months without even trying.

    I feel great, have more confidence, better mental clarity and the stresses of the day just don’t seem so stressful anymore.

    Sincerely thankful, John aka AtomicHipster

  • Jen W

    Thanks for the link Pam.

     

    JS, that's a long time, but my aunt who is a massage therapist told me flare ups could happen up to a year.  I try to make sure not to do too much heavy lifting (sometimes hard as my job requires a bit sometimes) and when I do I try to use my whole body, instead of just my arms.  It has gotten to the point where I don't feel I need ibuprofen to calm the pain and I can just use Traumeel.  I still use the small braces for Aikido and work, but that's the only time I have them on.  I also find that if I do the exercises with the bands my doc gave me at least at the bare minimum and at least once, the flare up isn't as bad.  

  • Cracking article, mate!

    Reading the first list, I was very happy … no … no … no … yes … what's Tylenol? … no … what stuff? … easy, in fact could go and do some strenuous activity!

    My paleo journey has been very positive and it is now my life … it's what I do. I cannot see myself going back.

    Prior to paleo, I used to drink quite a lot. When I drink now, I feel quite dull the morning after even with just a little – prior to paleo, I was tolerating a threshold – that threshold is “making do”, that sub-level below the normal that paleo gives us. That constant tolerance of sub-normal that so many people live with must, actually, be agony.

    We're not superhuman … we're just normal. This is how we're meant to be.

  • Exceptionally Brash

    Thank you JS. You are the new leader of paleo.

  • Tim

    I too have a little story to tell regarding my next level. Now I wasn’t exactly fine before I went paleo, we’d been raw vegan for nearly a year, I was on asthma meds, my allergies were terrible and I was heavy. It’s true that when we went low carb (3 months or so) and then switched to paleo after that, that I saw my allergies dramatically lessen and my asthma completely go away, which was awesome. My allergist thinks I am insane but all it takes is a beer or two or some milk and I start wheezing (it’s the worst when I have dairy AND wheat, my wife says it sounds like I’m sawing wood all night).

    That said… that isn’t the most remarkable thing I’ve experienced since my switch to Paleo. That would be the creative awakening I’ve had. Now, I’ve always been an odd guy who had a lot of ideas for things to write and draw and think about, but those ideas always tended to fizzle out before they got anywhere. But after the Paleo switch I’ve now written six short stories, two books, and completed numerous drawings and paintings. It’s just exploding out of me. I have so much energy and focus, it feels like I can finish any project I start. My biggest problem now is which thing to pursue! I don’t know if it was the elimination of the dairy and gluten that was clearly causing me problems or the addition of the quality fats (we bought an entire organic cow last year from a local farmer, plus I take cod liver oil daily)… but I just know that I love it. I never ever want to go back.

    Oh and regarding the potato thing, I am a low potato guy. I can stomach maybe a single plantain or a half a sweet potato a day but more than that and I will start to see the scale grimace uncomfortably (ok, actually I do that when I see the lbs pack on.) However if I just cut back to one potato every couple days soon I’ll be back to normal. That may change this summer as my wife has us planned to run a couple of half marathons.

    Talk to the gnoll he’ll tell you to grow,
    to walk and to talk and to live paleo.
    Eat things you love and play like you mean it.
    Soon you’ll feel so great your friends won’t believe it.

    -Tim

  • Mo

    So glad I found your site. Very enjoyable and informative. Three major changes I’ve noticed:

    1. More energy. I’m not desperate to take a nap after lunch anymore.
    2. I’m much more tolerant of the cold.
    3. My eyes are much less sun-sensitive. I can walk outside in the sunshine without sunglasses and tears no longer stream down my face.

    Mo

  • Chris Johnson DPT

    Jen W,
    A comment from a physical therapist; Sometimes, like Neal said, increasing the protein can help. I resolved my tennis elbow problem by stopping being a vegetarian (many years ago). But if your tennis elbow problem isn’t responding to tennis elbow treatment, it may be a nerve problem coming from either your shoulder or neck (it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a problem either place). Find yourself a good physical therapist.
    Chris

  • Paul N

    ” My eyes are much less sun-sensitive. I can walk outside in the sunshine without sunglasses “

    I’ll second that, and also say that my skin is much more resistant to sunburn.

    Cod liver oil on the inside, and coconut oil on the outside, seems to be an almost bulletproof combination for sun-resistance.

    And, of course, when you are not afraid of being burnt, you do more (active)things out in the sun – all good!

  • Marilyn, Beowulf:

    I'm sure those factors contribute, though I wouldn't know how to measure them!

    pam:

    “this is how being healthy feels like.”  Quite true.

    Victoria:

    There apparently aren't enough teenagers on oral contraceptives to make the “most frequently used” list.  Even among adults 18-44, just 15.7% of females were using them.

    dave, rn:

    I've heard some good things about prolo…but I'm hoping to resolve it without the time and expense.  It's improving, just very slowly.

    JL:

    People freak out about the bread thing, in my experience.  Tell them “You can't eat eggs?” No problem.  But when you say “No bread,” many of them just shut down.  “I could never give up bread.”

     

    More tomorrow!

    JS

  • Juan

    Thanks for another excellent article. A topic well worth discussing.

    My own experience has been nearly identical to yours regarding the benefits of paleo. I had forgotten the sense of liberation and I’m glad you mentioned it. I’m never hungry and I never snack. (fwiw, I eat a predominantly animal based diet. Lots of fat, moderate protein, very low carb. Maybe one potato every month or so and it lasts about 3 meals. haha)

    I have a couple of things to add to the liberation idea, as well as further retorts/fuel/talking points when met with the quizzical incomprehension and, as you say, fear of others when they consider all of your “sacrifices”. One thing I will often say to people is that I don’t miss (insert non-paleo element, such as bread or pizza) because I don’t crave it any longer. In the same way, I don’t have to “deny” myself cigarettes because I don’t crave them, nor do I miss them. I used to smoke, but after finally quitting 10 years ago, I don’t continually crave them. Same with food. Often I’ll then say to the person, “Are you denying yourself heroine right now?” No. Because you do not want heroine; you are not craving it, so you cannot be “denying” yourself.

    The same sense of freedom and self control that comes from quitting addicting things, such as cigarettes, also follows when finally getting off of sugary and birdseed-based foodstuffs.

    @Tim, thanks for your great story
    @JS and @Jen, I’ve had a long bout with epicondylitis that is slowly becoming better and better. I continue vigorous exercise, including heavy lifting, but am able to rehab using some mild protocols that I’ve slowly accumulated. No ibuprofen. If you wish, I can share them in private emails rather than clutter this corner of cyberspace with the deets.

    Thanks for reading.

    Juan

  • Jen W

    @Juan that would be great, but I'm not really comfortable giving out my email out in a forum.  Could you possible “private message” me?

  • Manythings:

    It does seem to be true that the older people get, the less able they are to dispose of excess carbohydrate without fat gain. This is another piece of evidence pointing toward a primarily metabolic explanation for obesity, as opposed to a model primarily based on addiction.

    Marilyn:

    Lifespan is still slowly increasing and cardiovascular disease is slowly waning, so apparently the drugs do help.  However, functional lifespan is slowly decreasing, so the evidence is that our baseline state of health is deteriorating even as medical technology helps keep us alive longer.

    Jenny:

    The more restrictive or non-mainstream the diet, the harder you have to work to justify it.  Thus the crowd of Peatarians who have basically taken over Mark's Daily Apple, replying to every single thread with “YOU NEED TO EAT MORE STARCH”.  Completely dysfunctionally crazy case in point.

    pam:

    Hargrove's stuff looks great, and I'll spend more time there in the future…but lateral epicondylitis isn't a minor strain.  It's an actual tear, in a place that doesn't heal well.

    Stipetic:

    Absolutely!  That's why eating like a predator fixes so many of these problems…we've created them by eating an evolutionarily inappropriate diet.

    John:

    That's a great list!  The mental aspects are difficult to quantify…but I bet something about a diet of adequate cholesterol, saturated fat, and DHA is highly beneficial to brain function, not to mention the lack of violent blood sugar swings.

    I'm glad I could help you in some way.  Keep us posted on your progress!

    Jen W:

    I don't seem to get spontaneous “flares”…I just have to avoid certain motions that reliably cause pain, like picking up significant weight with the palm down.  Frying pans are the worst day-to-day offender.

     

    More coming!

    JS
     

  • Paul:

    “it is now my life … it's what I do. I cannot see myself going back.”

    Exactly.  This isn't a diet…it's a way of life.

    And I very much understand your point about hangovers…the impairment is much more obvious when you're functioning optimally.

    Exceptionally Brash:

    If I'm the new leader, it's because people like yourself are following what I do.  It's an honor.

    Tim:

    “I saw my allergies dramatically lessen and my asthma completely go away…I have so much energy and focus, it feels like I can finish any project I start.”

    That's amazing and wonderful to hear.  

    But, of course, “My allergist thinks I am insane”.

    Most people simply don't have the ability to critically evaluate what someone in a position of authority tells them.  “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”  I'm glad you've been able to make such progress despite the doubt.

    “I am a low potato guy. I can stomach maybe a single plantain or a half a sweet potato a day but more than that and I will start to see the scale grimace uncomfortably”

    I've become quite disenchanted with the alarming number of paleo “experts” who cheerfully advise everyone that this is an imaginary situation — and that you're doing grievous, irreparable damage to your health. 

    Mo: 

    Visual sun sensitivity is an interesting one that I hadn't heard before.  Welcome, thanks for sharing, and do stick around!

    Chris:

    I'm reasonably sure mine isn't a nerve problem…but if it stops slowly improving, I'll look into that.

    Paul N:

    Sunburn resistance is, I think, a consequence of eating more saturated fats (chemically stable) and less polyunsaturated fats (less stable, easily oxidizable).  Also keep in mind that coconut oil is about SPF 8 by itself.

    Juan:

    Please feel free to send the protocols to me…you have my email.

    I've noticed the same thing: my cravings for non-paleo foods have diminished remarkably over time.  I think that once we develop a robust association between paleo foods and feeling great afterward, the desire to cheat diminishes.

    The heroin analogy is great…I'll probably steal it.  Thank you!

    Jen W:

    I can send it to you once Juan sends it to me.

     

    I'm finally caught up!  Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

    JS

  • Jen W

    @JS:  That would be great.  ThanksSmile

  • Paul N

    JS,

    I’m sure the increased sat fat and reduced unsat fat help enormously with skin resistance to sunburn – I do eat lots of cocnut oil (and butter) not just on the skin.

    I also think the natural vit d, from (10-20 minutes of) midday UVB exposure helps too.

    I guess it is a case of *healthy* skin can resist the sun, as it has for millennia. the remarkable increase in skin cancer rates in Australia is not due to stronger sunshine, or more sun hours – indoor workers are *four* times more likely to get skin cancers than outdoor ones – it has to be an environmental cause.

    PUFA strikes again…

  • […] Doing fine, and thriving are two vastly different things – don’t you deserve to thrive? Doesn’t your pet deserve the same? […]

  • Juan

    @JS
    Will do, regarding the elbowitis protocols. Working on it. As regards the frying pans — well, I feel your pain! I definitely don’t want to forever need to “warm up” my arm before picking up my cast iron frying pan painlessly. With lateral epicondylitis it is slightly easier (i.e., less painful) to pick up such things “cold” if you use a supinated (palm up) grip. You may have already tried this.

    And, yes, I’d be honoured if you were to use the heroin analogy (rather than the heroine analogy that I suggested).

  • Manythings

    @JS, sorry to be pedantic, but (as I am sure you know) I would like to point out that weight gain in middle age is arguably the least of our problems with carbs – metabolic syndrome affects 44% of people over 50, according to the Wikipedia article, and rising fasting blood glucose levels are a sign for many of us that we can tolerate fewer and fewer carbohydrates as we age.

  • Bill Strahan

    Unexpected benefits? How about the return of morning wood, and the best sex of my life at 45 years of age with my wife of 16 years?

    Seriously.

    I shared this exact issue with an older friend of mine who was not exercising, and not eating well. It took him a year to finally read the Primal Blueprint after I gave it to him. From that dietary change, and lifting some heavy weights, 6 months later he’s telling me how he didn’t realize how he had changed with age…until he changed back!

    He didn’t share it with me at the time, but when I talked about morning erections, it turns out he hadn’t had one in a year or more. That was what finally got through to him. Now, to use his words, he’s a teenager again. Mid 50’s and just had his testosterone test come back in the high 600s.

    Eating is a small but enjoyable part of life. And real food is tremendously enjoyable. But synthetic counterfood (counterfeit food) has rewards as well. If you actually spend 30 minutes a day eating, that’s less than 4 hours of total eating time per week. That 4 hours has the potential to make the other 164 totally awesome or totally suck. Even if you have an occasional craving for counterfoods, it’s worth ignoring it for the benefit of that 164 hours being much better than just “fine.”

    Great article.

  • Chris B

    Just as a little side note:
    So many people overlook this simple little item from your list:

    I sunburn far less easily.

    But I can tell you that as a light-complected Nordic type living in Florida this is HUGE. Not only can I now just go for a walk and not worry about having to choose between either becoming a painful boiled lobster or loading my skin up with nasty chemicals BUT I can also go to the beach for an hour or two – ANY time of day – and not worry then either.

    Too bad I was over 50 years old before I discovered how easy it could be to enjoy being outdoors anywhere anytime.

  • pam

    @JS & Jen W,

    pain can come from injury/damage (real threat to survival)
    or sometimes it’s just the _perceived_ threat by our brain. (this is “overdesign”)

    understanding it can also help us heal better for real injuries (in addition to minor sprain, sorenss)

    stay healthy,

    ps. just dawned on me about another n=1 observation. for the last few months, i have never come down once with ailment when people around me have been decimated by flus/colds. i’m sitting next to 2 colleagues who seem to be perpetually sneezing & coughing. a few times i felt mild headache, scratching throat, stuffiness, then i’d be ok in a day or 2. (from someone who used to have MONTH-long cold, wow!)

  • Juan:

    Yes, I pick up many things palm-up now, which doesn't bother me at all.

    Interestingly, I can deadlift very heavy weights without bothering it, either!  It's only a few very specific motions that cause pain.

    Manythings:

    Agreed.  There's some evidence that fat gain is protective against insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome: it may be when you stop being able to store excess nutrients in fat cells that the real issues start.

    Bill Strahan:

    I've seen some research that suggests the decline in testosterone “due to age” is an artifact of poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, and that this decline is not experienced in some cultures.  I know that I'm definitely feeling younger than my own age!

    The reward of junk food lasts until it slides down your throat…the reward of real food is continuous.

    Chris B:

    That's a good point.  Removing yet another barrier to going outside results in being outside more, which is good for us in so many ways.

    pam:

    Many people report increased resistance to sickness…another important benefit, especially this year, which seems to have more than its share of seasonal colds, sore throats, flu, and general blahs.

    JS

  • Jen W

    Pam:

     

    Again thanks again for the link to bettermovement.com.  I'm working my way through it now.  I have also, since going “paleo” not gotten sick at all.  In fact, I'm the only one that hasn't been sick at work, while everyone else dropped like flies!

     

    Jen

  • JayJay

    People are starting to notice I’ve lost weight, even though I don’t notice it on myself. It’s freaking me out as usually no one takes any notice of me, I never know what to say except “I eat lots of fat and meat and bread is sugar joined together”

    I think I was pretty ill and I’m a paleo newbie so positive effects are slowly occurring once I got over the horrible headaches. I’ve learnt to drink more water now and yet pee less.

    I don’t have horrible sugar homicidal swings. My digestion is improving slowly.

    I like to cook new things and show off to my parents whom I cook for once a week. (Look it’s inside out burgers!).

    I’m also slowly confronting my squeamishness for dead things and killing things. (I couldn’t even kill flies!) I accidently ran over a rabbit, so I stopped and picked it up and bought it home for the animals. It was warm and gross, but I didn’t throw up.

  • Sakura

    Does anybody else notice that the drug chart maybe have more than 30% error? Just want to bring that up…

  • JayJay:

    It sounds like you're on the right path!  Expect things to continue slowly improving…and don't be discouraged if you hit a temporary plateau.

    Sakura:

    Look more closely.  Only the figure for “12-19 year olds on 5 or more prescription drugs” has that large a margin of error, most likely due to a tiny sample size.

    JS

  • Issabeau

    Thank you for this article. I’ve read all the replies, too, and enjoyed them very much.
    I’ve been paleo/primal/predator for 3 full years now and have never felt better. Xept, I caught a nasty sinus infection due to my braces and dirty house vents…which will cost us $400,- in March to get cleaned out.

  • Issabeau:

    That time in the fall when the heat comes on for the first time after several months can be a problem.  I live in a very dry climate, so it usually just smells kind of dusty — but for people who live with more humidity, all sorts of mold, fungus, and bacterial nasties can build up in the ductwork.

    JS

  • Tim

    “Most people simply don’t have the ability to critically evaluate what someone in a position of authority tells them. ”Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” I’m glad you’ve been able to make such progress despite the doubt.” -JS

    I’m an art guy J. Questioning people in authority is my primary mode of thought.

    That said, the real impetus for our switch over from raw vegan/Conventional ‘Mediterranean diet’ wisdom was our son who is a type 1 diabetic. His numbers were impossible to control and as you are likely aware the ADA recommends that he stuff his face each day with massive amounts of sugar (in the form of breads and cereals of course). It just didn’t make sense to keep drowning someone who can’t process sugar with more sugar over and over again every day. A cursory search brought me to Dr. Bernstein which worked incredibly well for the diabetes. Then when I later stumbled across MDA and you it really filled out the ‘WHY’. Today my whole family eats like predators, except for the occasional b-day/holiday splurge and my Son’s HBA1C is typically below a 7, which is unheard of for kids in their growing years.

    Of course, being an art guy is a double edged sword. We are more likely to consider the new and different but are also completely dismissed by the ‘normal’ as nuts. I readily admit it though, I am a nut… an asthma free, allergy free (mostly, cats still mess me up), happy as hell, on the way to being ripped 35 year old nut.

    -Tim

  • Tim:

    Some people will always dismiss anything outside the conventional wisdom as nutty…but many people are simply waiting for social proof.  Thus the snowballing effect of most trends: the more people join a trend, the more other people feel comfortable joining it, because their threshold of social proof has been exceeded.

    We're starting to see that with paleo: enough independent thinkers have been promoting it for long enough to give it some social proof, so not everyone views it as a “fringe” diet anymore.

    JS

  • Andy

    Now if I could get young people (I am one) convinced that there is a level above “I’m fine”, maybe they would stop thinking that healthy food is something to worry about when you’re old and have heart disease. It’s great to feel great!

  • […] There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine”There are many, many annoyances we take for granted as part of aging, or part of life, that are actually consequences of an evolutionarily inappropriate diet of birdseed (known as “grains”) and birdseed extracts (known as “vegetable oils“). […]

  • Andy:

    Exactly.  When your diet consists mostly of cheese quesadillas and beer and you're still skinny, it's easy to convince yourself that it's too much bother to think about food.  I can only imagine how much I could have got done in college had I been “paleo”!

    JS

  • […] you flush Gluten-free diet: Distinguishing celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten intolerancee There is another level above “I’m doing fine” Why canola oil is not a health food Easter picnic in a […]

  • […] from butter. This is what J Stanton said better than i could about the high starch paleo advocates:There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine” - GNOLLS.ORG "Frankly, I find the religious fervor somewhat disturbing—and I can’t resist the […]

  • WalterB

    One thing I missed in this discussion is the role of cooking. We assimilate far more energy from our food if it is cooked which will not show up in the bomb calorimeter. Starch vs. resistant starch and fiber that is converted to short chained fatty acids and so on.

    I think there have been few studies measuring calories absorbed and then you have to account for changes in metabolic rate.

  • […] an interesting post over at gnolls.org entitled “There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine””. I’m in the no meds group, thank God, but I was surprised by the numbers; didn’t […]

  • daniel

    My own level of doing more than fine is almost like yours. Not sure why i had never stumbled here before, but i’ll read all of it, your articles are amazing. Thanks.

  • […] level of "normal". This article by J. Stanton of the Gnolls site expresses it well. There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine” - GNOLLS.ORG Well-behaved women rarely make history : Laurel Thatcher Ulrich My New Primal Journal : […]

  • WalterB:

    Richard Wrangham exaggerates these effects: raw meat, for instance, is perfectly digestible AFAIK.  It’s mostly vegetables and Neolithic grain-based foods whose availability changes dramatically.

    However, you are correct that cooking methods can make a meaningful difference — particularly with starches.

    daniel:

    Thank you!  I greatly appreciate the vote of confidence, and I’m glad my work hasn’t been lost in the white noise of self-aggrandizing drama that infects the paleosphere from time to time.

    JS

  • […] I dig your reasoning – reminds me of this: There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine” - GNOLLS.ORG Reply With […]

  • Juan

    Finally, I have some info and a video regarding elbow tendonitis/tendonosis. This is primarily for JS and for Jen, who mentioned it a couple of months ago, but anyone feel free to look and give me your thoughts. the video is 7 minutes long. There are annotations throughout plus text below that explains a few things further. Here is the URL:

    I may have an update shortly, as well, based on some “new” protocols (basically concentrating on biceps for medial and triceps for lateral; not a self massage for the most part).

    Anyway, hope it works.

    Juan

  • Juan

    Oh, I see the video is embedded. Cool. However if you want this further text and info, you’ll need to go the youtube page.
    Juan

  • […] thought this was funny from J Stanton : There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine” - GNOLLS.ORG "I don’t feel the need to evangelize my own potato consumption to those with a […]

  • […] nothing much happens to me except that I lose this: There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine” - GNOLLS.ORG Until you get to the level above fine you have no idea what you don't have until it's gone. […]

  • Tracy Kolenchuk

    Excellent article. Excellent title – “another level”. I suggest you take it a bit farther. If you were to give the ‘other level’ a name, what would you name it? I call it “healthicine”.

    I blog at Healthicine.org, where I put forth the concept that ‘healthiness’ is larger than illness, and illness is actually a subset of healthiness. Unfortunately, there is no-one scientifically studying the concepts of healthicine, much less trying to measure healthiness in a useful fashion – eg. useful enough to have a positive effect on the health of individuals and the nation.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying your Paleo ideas have no value – I believe they have significant value, but our so called ‘health sciences’ (actually sick sciences) have no way to measure ‘positive health effects’ – they can only measure sickness and sickness effects, even your post is evidence of that.

    For example, let’s suppose we find two people like you, who are eating very healthy diets – and show no signs of illness. How might we measure who is healthier?

    Alice and Ziz are good friends, who have very different lives. Neither has any illness. Alice or Zizi? Who is healthier?
    http://healthicine.org/wordpress/health-test-alice-zizi-part-1/

    to your health, tracy

  • Jen W

    Tracy,

     

    I think the question of who is healthier might make the assumption that there is a one size fits all diet for all people and that is simply not true.  At same point you have to account for individual differences, i.e. what is healthy for one, may not be healthy for another and the only person who really knows what is healthy for them is the individual (assuming they are listening to their selves).  

     

    At some point, people have to take on the responsibility of their own health and not simply rely on others to tell them what is and isn't healthy.  Others can give ideas for individuals to test out themselves, but ultimately it's up to the individual to figure out what health means for them.

     

    Jen

  • Tracy:

    I think it's relatively easy to define “healthiness” in terms of “lack of sickness, injury, or other dysfunctionality that leaves one functioning below their potential”. 

    The problem most people have is that they've never been fully healthy, so they have no basis for subjective comparison — which is what this article is about.

    The problem we have with trying to measure health objectively is that everyone is genetically and environmentally individual, and therefore has a different optimal level of function.  For example, my reflexes are quick, so I test well above average on reaction time…but that doesn't mean my brain is functioning optimally, because I might well have the potential to react even faster!

    JS

  • […] feeling fine, too, that you may wish to consider when you remove poverty foods from your table. There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine” - GNOLLS.ORG Female, 5'3", 48, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135. Starting bench press: […]

  • […] by eating none Re the value of trying 2), this is my view (put far better than I ever could!): There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine” - GNOLLS.ORG Reply With […]

  • […] There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine” - GNOLLS.ORG Great article all about doing better than "fine". Well-behaved women rarely make history : Laurel Thatcher Ulrich My New Primal Journal : http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum…tml#post821642 My 1st Primal Journal (including travel journal of Africa) http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum…back-to-Africa Reply With Quote […]

  • […] There Is Another Level Above “I’m Doing Fine” - GNOLLS.ORG i'd be a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees. Reply With Quote […]

  • Heather

    I was talking to my Mom a few months back. She was talking about one of my Dad’s friends. (Mom is 68; Dad is 71). She said that he was in his early 70s and was in great shape. Her exact words were “he was blessed with good health”. I laughed. I said “Mom, do you hear what you’re saying??!!” Since when are we blessed with good health. Does that mean the rest of us are screwed unless we happen to be “blessed with good health”?

    I guess I should start “praying” since the only way to be healthy as we age is to be “blessed”. Sheesh.

  • You should, Heather … prayer is the key.

    <irony>

    Abuse your body as much as you like: eat filth, drink and drug yourself as much as you like, but when the chips are down, just pray. You'll be pure and virginal again. It's wonderfully cleansing … you should try it.

    </irony>

    On a serious note, many “old” folks have lived their lives in the traditional ways with exercise, toil, hard work, relaxing, not overworking, not stressing and eating simple, natural foods … yes, which might well have been full of bread, pasta, biscuits and so on, but old folks show restraint (one biscuit, not the packet), old folks had to scrimp and save, so cheaper (fattier) cuts of meat and old folks had to make do when they could not afford (read: fasting, or periodic macronutrient deprivation).

    I've joked before that 'Eat Like Your Grandmother' stands as a strong sentiment, but I am getting more and more convinced that they were the last of the folks that ate real food and would enjoy a long and healthy life. Since the '50s and into the '60s we've had processed food rammed down out throats and dietary advice pummelled from every angle. All wrong.

    Eat like your grandparents and you're about there …

    Remove the remainder of the rubbish and you're all the way there. I guess the rest of their lifestyles managed to offset the negatives from the remainder that we now need to kick out. They might have been able to tolerate breads and so on, but today's bread is nowhere near bread from half a century ago.

    Old folks, like everyone today, should engage in an ancestral diet as closely as they can. Even the “good” stuff in our diets is so messed and fiddled with that we are nowhere even close to a natural diet anymore. It takes effort. That's what old folks are good at.

    Sadly, they also cannot be told anything …

    With some love from family members, they can be steered towards goodness. I find that they can be steered quite well by talking about the days before governments messed with every single facet of our daily lives. Dairy is the big one … raw, unpasteurised dairy (“Green Top” here in the UK) was much loved by folks like me in my youth, my parents and certainly their parents. That's a start … tackling meat production follows.

    If they can eat meat and veggies, and drop all that “healthy fats” crap, returning to just butter and animal fats rendered from meat cooking, they'll be fine. Blessed, you might say, but isn't that just living in the blessing? Living in nature? Nothing more than another animal in the melange that is nature? That would be just lovely …

  • Heather:

    It's best to bless yourself with good health.  The gods may or may not ever get around to it!

     

    Paul:

    My parents were easy to convince because, as my mother said, “This is how we ate growing up.”  They didn't even eat all that much bread…potatoes were the main starch.  Grass-fed beef (there wasn't any other kind), eggs, sausage and bacon, unpasteurized full-fat milk and butter, potatoes from the root cellar, and maybe some vegetables or apples in season (which wasn't for very long…)

    Diet isn't an “all or nothing” practice, where if you don't get everything right you automatically die young.  The rural farmer's diet pre-1970 might not have been optimal, but it was much better than today's diet of convenience food — seed oil-soaked gluten bombs.

    JS

  • Paleobird

    My 87 year old dad took to paleo eating very well as soon as I convinced him that it was not some “new fangled diet” but rather a return to eating the old fashioned way before fast/junk food screwed everything up.

    About sodas my dad said, “sure there were sodas when I was a kid but they were only 6 oz and when the streetcar ride to your job cost a nickel and so did the soda, you didn’t drink soda very often unless you were really rich.”

    My 82 year old best friend has taken to paleo cooking like Grok’s Grannie. She grew up in Harlem during the depression and learned how to cook without wasting any part of the beast. She has showed me how to cook offal and gotten me past being squeemed out by it.

  • That is a really cool story, Paleobird. That generation or two before us knew a thing, or two, particularly around stretching food. It's difficult to stretch something from a packet, but real food can be pulled through to more than a couple of meals.

    Here in Britain, we're now in a period of “permanent austerity”, which means us plebs have to make do while the ruling elite continue to eat pheasant, daily, and wonder what the problem is.

    Food banks are now prolific in every city. I'm a professional and struggle to make ends meet now, even with a paleo diet that pulls cheap meats, offals and bones as far as they'll stretch.

    Maybe we should eat the rich.

    Christ! We're facing a winter of fuel poverty and our ruling elite issued the following as advice: wear a jumper and cuddle around your one bar fire in one room … or find a rich person's house and hug the walls in the hope of gaining some warmth by osmosis.

    “Let them eat cake” is not a funny thing to say here at the moment.

    My advantage with a paleo diet is not going to last long once folks cotton on to these cheap cuts and thrifty meals from offals and bones.

    Fuck! We're doomed!

    Did I say, perhaps we should eat the rich? Fatty fuckers! Not like vegans.

  • Paleobird:

    The difference between the pre-industrial diet of rural Americans (who most likely worked the land and owned pigs and chickens) and a Paleolithic diet may actually be smaller than the difference between a pre-industrial and modern post-industrial diet.

    “sure there were sodas when I was a kid but they were only 6 oz and when the streetcar ride to your job cost a nickel and so did the soda, you didn't drink soda very often unless you were really rich.”

    In contrast, today a 12-ounce soda costs under a buck and local transit costs $2.

    I recall seeing a graph showing the average % of money Americans spent on food decreasing substantially over the last few decades.  This is not because income increased (it's been flat to slightly decreasing), it's because food has become cheaper: people are buying more processed grain products, which are highly subsidized by our government, and less actual food.  Soda is so cheap now because corn production is subsidized so heavily.

    Paul:

    That's due to the fact that our governments have spent $trillions of dollars/pounds/etc. bailing out big banks for making loans they knew could never be paid back.

    If you run a bank or a large corporation and you screw up harder than anyone in the history of the world has ever screwed up, you get bailed out with taxpayer money.  If you're an individual who has somehow kept productive during all of this, and you're just trying to stay afloat, piss off — we're taking all of your money to bail out the bankers.

    JS

  • […] There is anothere level above « I’m doing fine » […]

Add Comment Register



Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe me to the sporadic yet informative gnolls.org newsletter! (Your email will not be sold or distributed.)