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There Is Another Level Above "I'm Doing Fine"
sp_BlogLink Read the original blog post
February 12, 2013
6:40 pm

ps. my n=1 conclusion:

"this is how being healthy feels like."


February 12, 2013
7:10 pm


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.

February 12, 2013
7:44 pm

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...)

February 12, 2013
8:15 pm

Excellent point.

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


February 12, 2013
8:36 pm

@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.

February 12, 2013
9:14 pm
dave, rn

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

February 13, 2013
4:11 am

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.

February 13, 2013
5:09 am

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.

February 13, 2013
11:26 am

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!" ??

February 13, 2013
6:50 pm

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. ūüôā

February 13, 2013
11:43 pm

@Jen W,

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

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

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.)

February 14, 2013
12:50 am

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!

February 14, 2013
4:23 am

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

February 14, 2013
5:47 am
Madison, WI, USA
Forum Posts: 75
Member Since:
September 24, 2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

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.  

"Often we forget . . . the sky reaches to the ground . . . with each step . . . we fly."  ~We Fly, The House Jacks

February 14, 2013
5:51 am
Halifax, UK
Forum Posts: 364
Member Since:
June 5, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

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.

Living in the Ice Age

February 14, 2013
9:23 am
Exceptionally Brash

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

February 14, 2013
10:09 am

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.


February 14, 2013
2:42 pm

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.


February 14, 2013
8:34 pm
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.

February 15, 2013
12:32 am
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!

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