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Better Health: It's Less Complicated Than You Think
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September 14, 2011
4:41 am
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2105
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February 22, 2010
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As gnolls.org has become more and more widely read, I am receiving more and more questions from my readers in comments, on the forums, and over email—and a significant number of them boil down to "I have [a list of problems], what should I eat?"

First, let me be absolutely clear: I am not complaining! I work very hard every week to write articles that are not only worth your time—they're worth forwarding to others using the social media buttons at the end. I'm glad you're here.

However, I need to correct a common misconception. And though this article is mostly addressed…

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September 14, 2011
5:22 am
garymar
Guest

Yeah, I'm a snowflake. You have to get out a high-powered microscope to be able to detect any differences between me and the next guy!

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September 14, 2011
5:23 am
Jason Sandeman
Guest

Excellent article! We need to have a more nutrition-based method of practicing medicine. I truly believe that our physicians ought to take a full nutrition course (NOT funded by the USDA or other agency.)
They should be required to see the interaction of our foods and medicines in a synergistic way, just like the herbal healers of yore. If a healer back then prescribed a leaf to cure an ail, and nothing happened, or it got worse, they would be run out of town.

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September 14, 2011
5:50 am
lynn
Guest

My doctor says he had a week of nutrition in college. I gave him a copy of "Good Calories, Bad Calories". He is reading it and asking ME questions. I suggested I start charging HIM. I emailed him a list of must read books, mostly from speakers at the Ancestral Health Symposium. I can always hope he turns from his evil pill pushing ways. I am not deficient in ibuprofen, virepimil, albuterol, benadryl, trazidone, and the host of other meds I am no longer on since I began this Paleo journey Memorial Day of this year.

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September 14, 2011
6:00 am
Dave Sill
Guest

Good stuff. Thanks, J!

Any way you could add a Google Plus button to the sharing options?

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September 14, 2011
6:07 am
Paul Verizzo
Guest

Amen.

My first year of paleo was accompanied by living on the MDA forum, full of angst about what is "right." Did the usual looking for low carb alternatives to bread, pancakes, etc.

Finally just settled into "Mostly Paleo," not sweating the natural carb sources - in moderation - and accepting the occasional bun with a Fourth of July hot dog. Made life so much easier.

The belief that perfection is to be found in a product or a bottle is a result of our cultural mythologies. That we will progress in knowledge, that science will prevail, that as consumers we shall overcome. Billions of dollars a year are placed in the offering plate of that religion.

Yes, it's simple.

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September 14, 2011
6:20 am
Anastasia
Guest

Thanks JS.

Another problem with pop-a-pill mentality is that it trains you to focus on details, sometimes completely missing the forest for the trees. In the conventional medicine the classic example is a drug for the side effect of another drug. Ridiculous but practiced on a daily basis.
However many people go into Paleo with the same mentality chasing numbers and looking for finite answers. Drilled and schooled by years of pharma, media and pop culture we still demand the instant gratification. You know what? It takes a looong time to correct metabolic issues, lose weight, manage (?cure) autoimmunity and gastrointestinal disorders. 
Real food: just eat it and get on with your life. 

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September 14, 2011
6:44 am
UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 49
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June 14, 2011
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Sound advice! You beat me to the punch on this one as today I was going to post up something along similar lines (more or a 'rant' actually), inspired by this article 'Daily Vitamin B pill can help stave off Alzheimer's disease'. Clearly we need to either supplement with B12 pills or eat fortified cereal, or maybe just go for a solution that cannot be copyrighted or patented.

 

Wink

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September 14, 2011
6:47 am
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
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June 5, 2011
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The statements concerning illness and big-pharma's approach are hilarious, but absolutely true - you can almost hear your family Doctor saying those things. As for alternative medicine, well the situation is just the same yet we often think where conventional medicine has failed, alternative medicine might hold the answer rather than simply restoring our lives to a normality for human healthiness.

Illness falls into two categories - transient illness, like a cold, and long-term illness which is almost always lifestyle related.

'Eat Like a Predator' is a fundamentally brilliant work. Fundamentally right and absolutely the answer to illness - illness is a deviation from healthiness; healthiness is a normal state of being, maintained by eating right, working right, playing right and resting right.

As Anastasia summarised: Real food: just eat it and get on with your life.

Punchy article, and one that needed writing.

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
September 14, 2011
6:52 am
mike karmire
Guest

Excellent short post that sums up the root cause of the problems that are experienced by 99 percent of the population.

If you are taking nutrition advice from just about anyone in the medical community, you are committing suicide!

thanks

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September 14, 2011
7:09 am
Jan's Sushi Bar
Guest

One of my co-workers is a man in his early 60s; his wife has a plethora of health issues - high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, bad knees, etc. The woman takes so many pills she rattles when she walks.

Recently, she has begun to suffer from swollen lips and gums - the doctor has tried several medications, non of which have alleviated the inflammation. Finally, he put her on an elimination diet - and told her to stop eating fruit. Not grains or vegetable oils or soy or other inflammatory foods, but fruit.

It's not working, so next he's going to have her give up dairy - but that's okay, she informed me Sunday, because while she'll miss real butter they've got those margarines made with vegetable oil. *rolls eyes*

Her husband, in the meantime, has told me she is miserable on this new elimination diet because she is always hungry (it might be important to note that she eats fruit all day long or else her blood sugar will go too low). When I suggested she eat more fat, he snapped at me, "She CAN'T - she doesn't like meat that much. The one hot dog she ate last night (wrapped in a white bread bun, by the way) was all the meat she ate all day because that was all the meat she wanted."

At which point I shrugged - you can't argue with logic like that.

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September 14, 2011
8:26 am
California
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 35
Member Since:
June 20, 2011
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Hit it right on the seams and knocked it out of the park JS. I've had this mentality practically my whole life.

 

I hated going to doctors and still despise being told I need a prescription. I've never felt I got anything useful out of the visits; but perhaps that's because most doctors I've seen are rather narrow minded.

 

I know doctors like Anastasia are changing some of that, and it's too bad there aren't more like her around. Things might be different.

 

Anstastia hit the nail on the head and put it through the lumber; I've seen friends and family in that vicious cycle and I've told them for years. It's almost disappointing when you tell them to get another opinion and it falls on deaf ears because someone had a Ph. D.

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September 14, 2011
9:48 am
Timothy
Guest

This is so sadly true. I believe the "magic pill" syndrome is based on a pathetic modern trend: the lack of ability or desire to take responsibility for one's health, and the tranquilizing notion that serious men in white coats, infallible geniuses devoid of conflicts of interest, will take care of one instead.

A single example from my own life will suffice.

One person close to me, obese for many years, was found to have thyroid cysts. This person is well aware of the fact that I cured my own weight problems, along with innumerable health complaints, by embracing paleo and rejecting the mainstream medical establishment and all its works. Yet when doctors recommended surgical removal of the thyroid, this person thought that was a swell idea.

I broached the subject as gently as I could. "The thyroid is a pretty important organ. Rather than undergoing an irreversible surgery, why not take three months to eat right and exercise, like you know you should? You can always get the surgery after that if you don't like the results."

"Well, maybe if I was younger and more energetic," came the (paraphrased) reply. "But now I just want the problem taken care of. They'll give me prescriptions to replace the thyroid hormones. So-and-so had the same surgery, you know."

So there was nothing else I could do but wish the person well, and they went ahead and had the surgery. By a typical oversight, thyroid replacement drugs were not prescribed until weeks afterward, and complications ensued. To this day the dosage is irregularly monitored. It grieves me to say that this person who used to have a reasonable amount of energy is now largely confined to a chair, and the situation continues to worsen.

Will you take responsibility for your own health? Or will you let natural selection take care of that for you? We may be able to delay the choice, but we cannot avoid it in the end.

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September 14, 2011
10:16 am
Kaa
Guest

There are two distinct issues that are somewhat confused in here.

The first issue is what is the range of normal human biochemical variation (how unique a snowflake you are) and to what degree diet can or should be optimized for you personally.

The second issue is whether getting off SAD -- Standard American Diet -- is a good idea for the great majority of people regardless of their unique physiology.

As to the first question, it seems clear to me that the range of variation is *wide*. Are you going to claim that no one will do fine (that is, lead a long a healthy life) on a high-carb diet with lots of grain? Go look at Asia.

I would argue that humans are sufficiently different so that personalized food habits are important and necessary. This is just a part of the basic "Know Yourself" approach. Generic advice is generic -- even if it's good for the majority of the population, how do you know you're not in the minority?

Health, individual health *is* complex. That's the underlying reality. Pretending it's simple -- once we're out of the "don't eat poison" territory -- is likely to lead to bad results.

Kaa

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September 14, 2011
12:15 pm
Evan
Guest

Re: Intro to this article.

Appreciate the time you put into each article AND the time spent responding to us in the comments section.

It seems as blogs/websites get more popular, the work-load increases, and typically that blogger will post/comment less and less (understandably so because blogging isn't that person's #1 priority). BUT, yours is one of the few that when a post comes up its always a good read.

So, here's hoping you don't get overwhelmed by the increasing traffic.

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September 14, 2011
6:26 pm
Jack Kruse
Guest

I invite you any time to Nashville to she you Neolithic disease up close and personal from pitied and within. When you ride knee deep in Neolithic diseases you will be reintroduced to the term context. When we re engineer humans back to an evolutionary lifestyle we need every tool in our armentarium. I don't sell it or profit from it. They come for what I know. They want their bodies and minds back. In my clinic.......100% primal is often putting lipstick on am pig. The invitation stands. I will show you what we are really up against. I bet that blog will be popular.

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September 14, 2011
8:48 pm
» Introducing&
Guest

[...] Better health: It’s less complicated than you think Wasting time is not a waste Kitchen essentials Yoga for the type-A Chorizo mini-meatloaves / Baked bimbimbap / GOBlin deviled eggs 10 [...]

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September 15, 2011
2:28 am
eddie watts
Guest

i can't help but think that kaa may have missed the point.
pursue the functional paleo and see what happens, then if there are still issues tweak it to suit.

alternatively stay exactly where you are and just put up with it.

personally i hate it when people moan about things and then refuse to do anything that is likely to actually resolve the issues.
this is a great read, thanks :D

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September 15, 2011
4:15 am
UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 49
Member Since:
June 14, 2011
Offline

Kaa said:

There are two distinct issues that are somewhat confused in here.

The first issue is what is the range of normal human biochemical variation (how unique a snowflake you are) and to what degree diet can or should be optimized for you personally.

The second issue is whether getting off SAD -- Standard American Diet -- is a good idea for the great majority of people regardless of their unique physiology.

As to the first question, it seems clear to me that the range of variation is *wide*. Are you going to claim that no one will do fine (that is, lead a long a healthy life) on a high-carb diet with lots of grain? Go look at Asia.

I would argue that humans are sufficiently different so that personalized food habits are important and necessary. This is just a part of the basic "Know Yourself" approach. Generic advice is generic -- even if it's good for the majority of the population, how do you know you're not in the minority?

Health, individual health *is* complex. That's the underlying reality. Pretending it's simple -- once we're out of the "don't eat poison" territory -- is likely to lead to bad results.

Kaa


 Hi Kaa, I'm not sure I agree with your first point here.  Human health and fitness is NOT balanced on a pin head.  We are adaptive and as such health and fitness is arguably a moving target..  There is no optimal diet (or exercise); we live in a dynamic environment and have evolved as such.  As with all systems, we need to be aware of the parameters we are adapted for.  Push us outside of these parameters and the consequences become less predictable.

(An aside to this point;  a friend of a friend has two young children, one of whom is obese and another who is lean but with severe tooth decay.  Assuming the parent feeds the children the same foods - and broadly the same portion sizes, and also assuming that parental supervision during toothbrushing is also evenly distributed, modern medicine has diagnosed that one of these children eats too much and exercises too little, whilst the other manages to balance calories in and calories out but has a genetic defect with regard to tooth quality. 

There has been absolutely no suggestion that obesity and tooth decay might actually be a consequnce of the same underlying dietary factor which manifests in different ways.  I have to ask you, is such a proposition so far fetched?  Heres the thing; the doctor makes two diagnoses that treat symptoms rather than looking at a potential singular underlying cause. 

So it is that medicine and nutrition have become stratified, stove-piped and segmented to the point of impotence.)

For sure Asians can thrive on a high-carb diet with lots of grain (whilst living in Asia), but what about an Asian that has lived in the US for most of his/her early life?  Does your idea hold true then? 

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September 15, 2011
6:11 am
Franco
Guest

White Rice (the grain those skinny asians eat) has no gluten and is also otherwise much less toxic then wheat, especially modern wheat.
Just saying...

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