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  1. #1
    prato's Avatar
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    Newbie is interested, needs guidance, has concerns...

    Primal Fuel
    I'm intrigued in the primal lifestyle and am considering adopting it but have some nagging concerns as to how to approach it.

    About me: I am in my early 40's, about size foot tall and weight about 270lbs. Although I walk as much as possible -- usually about 1/2hr daily I am mostly behind a desk. My father had a heart attack around this age and so heart health is a major concern for me.

    My diet: For the last couple years I have been passionate about eating natural, nutrient dense food and in particular love fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken. Not a big fan of read meat but have it from time to time. I cook with olive and coconut oil and avoid butter.I do have a decent amount of french bread, rice and pasta. I suspect that these are the culprit, leading me here.

    My knowledge of nutrition: I am getting thoroughly confused by contradictory information. From what I have read, the Mayo Clinic seems to have good information and I learned about "superfoods" (nutrient-dense) through them I have read this article about high-protein diets here: High-protein diets: Are they safe? - MayoClinic.com

    My concerns are as follows and I appreciate any guidance you can all give:

    Proteins/Fats: According to the article I linked above "... choose your protein wisely. Good choices include fish, skinless chicken, lean beef, pork and low-fat dairy products." the Mayo clinic has concerns about fatty proteins. How do I best convince myself that fattier proteins are heart healthy? If end up sticking primarily with chicken, fish, nuts and yogurt for my proteins am I missing anything that my body needs? Is it OK to avoid full-fat dairy and red meat?

    Carbs/grains: The article linked above says "Choose carbs that are high in fiber, such as whole grains and nutrient-dense vegetables and fruit.". I know I have too many grains right now and that they need to be reduced. The question is how much. I've read about concerns due to lack of fiber, etc. What are good vegetables to focus on to make sure I get enough fiber?

    As I love bowls of rice with vegetables, naan with curry, and occasional popcorn popped in coconut oil, what is the effect if I say do those 2-3 times a week?

    Additional concerns: The Mayo clinic article says that a high protein diet may cause liver or kidney problems due to trouble eliminating the wastes of protein metabolism. It also cautions that restrictive carb diets can increase incidents of cancer. Thoughts?

    I have gone through a lot here at MDA and am happy to read more if anyone has links to suggest. Just having a hard time getting down to the scientific facts (or most plausible theories).

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    rayout's Avatar
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    Gary Taubes' book "Good Calories, Bad Calories" will go in depth as to why modern medicine promotes such an unhealthy diet. It has a bunch of science.

    Also paleo isn't really high protein, its high fat

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    I have to agree with rayout - I'd love to give a simple answer of "eat this - they're wrong" but it really does help to know why the science behind the conventional wisdom is wrong.

    Another good book I just finished reading and love is Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudis. And, of course, Primal Blueprint is full of good information, as well as being an interesting read.

    But... I will say that most of the current medical information is more about trying to fix markers of bad health and not actual "bad health" itself, along with cherry-picking information to fit what we presume is the "truth". That's why you'll find "experts" saying things about cholesterol levels and that eating fat makes you fat (it doesn't).
    Last edited by RitaRose; 09-02-2011 at 04:36 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayout View Post
    Gary Taubes' book "Good Calories, Bad Calories" will go in depth as to why modern medicine promotes such an unhealthy diet. It has a bunch of science.

    Also paleo isn't really high protein, its high fat
    Taubes demolishes the Mayo conventional wisdom misinformation, but his Why We Get Fat is more accessible and a lot shorter. He really wrote Good Calories, Bad Calories for doctors and researchers.
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    prato's Avatar
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    rayout, ritarose, hedonist:

    Thank you very much for the book suggestions. I will add these to my reading list. I already have the Primal Blueprint and am reading through that - unfortunately, my schedule is so packed that it is going to take me a while to get through these and I want to start taking proactive steps now.

    I've also found this Definitive Guide to Cholesterol from January 2008 here on the website:

    The Definitive Guide to Cholesterol | Mark's Daily Apple

    How does this still fare in terms of "what we know today"? I'm looking for some quick reads that encapsulate both the pros/cons in the fats/carbs war.

    I like that the primal approach "rings true", as we didn't exactly plop down on the planet into fields of wheat. However, as I may be in a high risk group for heart disease I want to give that top priority and I see a lot here about eggs, bacon, butter, etc that at least used to be considered a pretty massive "no-no".

    I would be really interested to find out if anybody has "hedged their bets" and taken a hybrid approach: eating primal but still watching fats and high cholesterol foods utilizing leaner meats and using olive oil primarily as opposed to butter, etc.

    Or, is there something about this type of approach that makes the primal blueprint less effective?

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    I noticed yesterday there is a journal by someone who is recovering from a heart attack or heart surgery. Maybe scan the journal and contact him? Good luck
    Chris
    "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain."
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    My journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread36279.html

    My "Program": doing my version of a 4:3 - 3 day fast diet with real food every day

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    prato's Avatar
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    demuralist: Thanks! I am rifling through the" Journals" section of the forum now. I haven;t found the one you referred to yet but wow, there sure are a lot of these in here!

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    If Cholesterol is a concern - check out Griff's Cholesterol primer - http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread4723.html
    awesome break down of what you should be looking at for cholesterol!

    If you want a Doctors POV - check out Dr Kruse's blog..http://jackkruse.com/ pretty intense stuff but he's putting all the information out there for you to figure out why paleo/primal eating is beneficial to you

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    Quote Originally Posted by prato View Post
    I would be really interested to find out if anybody has "hedged their bets" and taken a hybrid approach: eating primal but still watching fats and high cholesterol foods utilizing leaner meats and using olive oil primarily as opposed to butter, etc.
    Look into the Paleo Diet by Cordain, as well as Art DeVany's work--both are into lower saturated fat, NO dairy, less emphasis on carb restriction (more of a eat all the veggies and fruit you want approach) etc--may be up your ally.
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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prato View Post
    How does this still fare in terms of "what we know today"? I'm looking for some quick reads that encapsulate both the pros/cons in the fats/carbs war.
    Are there "pros and cons"? Are you sure?

    I would say rather that there has been a dominant belief that the consumption of fat, particularly saturated fat, is bad for the heart. That was down, primarily to Ancel Keys. Since then, people have just transferred the "fats are bad" idea to every other health problem. There has never been any real evidence for Keys's view. It's merely become an item of belief by repetition. Copying from book to book. To get a good handle on the history of this you'll have to read Gary Taubes's Good Calories, Bad Calories, as already suggested. AFAIK, the movie Fathead gives a good, visual, quick summary of that, but I haven't seen it so I don;t know for sure.

    On fats, see this online source:

    Proven Health Benefits of Saturated Fats

    I like that the primal approach "rings true", as we didn't exactly plop down on the planet into fields of wheat. However, as I may be in a high risk group for heart disease I want to give that top priority and I see a lot here about eggs, bacon, butter, etc that at least used to be considered a pretty massive "no-no".
    Well, actually, wheat is most strongly discouraged by a preventative cardiologist who has just brought a book out:

    Dr. Davis | Wheat Belly

    As for saturated fat, as I said, nothing has ever been proved against it. And, in fact, a meta-study published in January 2010 (Siri-Tarino et al) of 347,747 subjects found no increased risk of heart disease arising from the consumption of saturated fat. That's a pretty large sample; that's up-to-date; and that's an actual finding:

    Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies e... [Am J Clin Nutr. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI

    Or one can go with Ancel Keys's old, and unproven, assumptions from—what?—the fifties. I know what I'd do.

    I would be really interested to find out if anybody has "hedged their bets" and taken a hybrid approach: eating primal but still watching fats and high cholesterol foods utilizing leaner meats and using olive oil primarily as opposed to butter, etc.
    Yes, people do eat low-carb and low-fat. The South Beach Diet is rather like that. It's dangerous. Among other problems, it depletes your body of vitamin A. At the extreme you'd suffer protein poisoning—what was known popularly as "rabbit starvation". That can kill. Some traditional societies eat very high fat (up to 80% of calories); some eat fairly high-carb (but not actually low-fat). No traditional society eats high-protein.

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