Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
May 10, 2011

Primal Minded Practitioners?

By Mark Sisson
187 Comments

I know what many of you are already thinking: where do I sign up? Let’s face it: we organize much of our lifestyles contrary to CW specifically to live healthier and feel better. When it’s check up time, however, we find ourselves back in foreign territory. If it’s just an annual ritual, we can grit our teeth through the usual advice and make the best of it. On the other hand, if we’re receiving care for on ongoing condition and using the Primal Blueprint to get on top of our health – or if we’re just looking for more from our health care – it’s harder to skirt the Primal issue. Some practitioners will listen and offer gentle, cautionary advice. Others will agree to give your approach “a chance” before going back to their prescribed route. A few will unfortunately fly off the handle and tell you they will need to sever the treatment relationship if you continue on this ill-advised course. It can be a tricky, awkward situation to handle: living out your Primal principles while trying to garner benefit and help from your conventional (a.k.a. insurance covered) health care providers. A less explored question is this: what is it like to be on the other side of the fence? What is it like to be a Primal-minded medical practitioner swimming against a wholly un-Primal mainstream?

It’s one thing to swim against the current in your own personal life and quite another to openly navigate a professional career devoted to Primal health. What is it like to live one way but feel held back from sharing the truth with one’s patients and clients – the very people whose care is entrusted to you? Is there a place for Primal yet in the medical field?

The establishment, as we know, sticks with the same old, same old in rampant fear of litigation. (I’m sure Primal-minded practitioners are forever conscious of this anvil over their heads.) Ironically, for the establishment it doesn’t matter if conventional results themselves are lacking or even fatal – as long as the treatment regimen coheres with accepted CW. If the majority agree to uphold the same message, it’s the prisoner’s dilemma, I guess.

For many practitioners and health care students, however, the incongruence between common practice and they’ve come to know as common (Primal) sense becomes a source of continual stress and even fundamental questioning about their career trajectories. Here’s just a sampling of the mail I get:

My question is, what kind of careers are available to a B.S. in Nutrition with a primal/paleo methodology? I imagine I will have to forge my own path; despite the fact that the paleo/primal community is growing, it still isn’t generally accepted.

I’m dreading the idea of doing a year long ADA dietetic internship (despite being called in internship, I pay tuition and do not receive pay), followed by a state licensure exam in order to become an RD, when I disagree with the majority of the ADA’s positions! Unfortunately, opportunities seem quite limited without that RD after my name.

I’m an MD just finishing up my first year of family practice residency…, and I am going crazy!! I have had it up to here (my eyeballs) with modern medicine and how it exists basically to manage disease and not promote health. …My dilemma: I’m an MD who wants to do paleo, paleo, paleo! I’ve even toyed with the idea of getting out of residency after my intern year. I would if I could find gainful employment that would help me pay off loans and get on track to starting my paleo-centered practice.

Currently, I’m in my last year of school … studying nutrition and can honestly say the best thing I have gotten out of it has been the biochemistry classes I’ve taken. I’m going to get my RD credentials within the next year, but definitely don’t want to be stuck in a hospital treating sick patients and (for the most part) making them sicker or not helping them to my fullest potential. To me, that’s against my morals. I’m considering starting up a private practice that focuses more on the paleo lifestyle, but I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on other options for those of us with nutrition backgrounds.

The conundrum becomes this: how does a Primal practitioner maintain gainful employment and fulfillment in his/her chosen health care field? Sure, there are a few big names: Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, Loren Cordain, cardiologist and blogger Dr. William Davis, and geneticist and researcher Cynthia Kenyon. Other than Dr. Davis, they’ve all gone the route of teaching, research, and publishing. They’re high profile, effective messengers for a better health approach and those who would follow and practice it. Nonetheless, barriers still remain in the day to day practice of health care.

The right path will ultimately be different for each practitioner. Some will choose to head out on alternative tracks in research, publishing, or less conventional health domains. Others will add their unique and needed expertise to change the system from within the heart of the beast – however slow and small (yet significant) their steps toward progress. Obviously, it’s not a black and white issue, and my point here isn’t to stand in judgment of anyone as they navigate the murky waters. It’s not about who can both live and “work” the most genuinely Primal. Rather, I think it’s a chance to further explore – and support – the opportunities of Primal minded professionals.

For those who choose to go out on their own, don’t underestimate the power of networking – virtual and old school. Get your name on the full array of low carb, paleo, and Primal directories. Get connected with local professionals and centers that cater to people who already view wellness (and health care) outside the restrictive bounds of CW: chiropractors, osteopaths, naturopaths, midwives, and even doulas (trust me – these women can network!).

Then there are the semantics. While paleo or Primal raises eyebrows, something like “functional medicine” (which approaches health in terms of nurturing the whole or “holistic” system rather than treating isolated conditions) can perhaps fly more effectively under the radar if you’re working in a more traditional health care setting. As a more widely recognized philosophy, FM can also garner you attention from more alternative/open-minded clients. The Institute for Functional Medicine is a pretty established and expansive organization with some serious networking clout. Granted, it’s more than just tomato-”tomahhto.” Functional medicine is a pretty big umbrella (one that might present its own conflicts), but it might be an area to look into.

For those of you looking for a Primal minded practitioner (or want to see how – and where) others are navigating the medical field with their alternative principles, you can check out Robb Wolf’s new directory (under construction as we speak) as well as Jimmy Moore’s catalog. You’ll find a lot of chiropractors, acupuncturists, osteopaths, and naturopaths. However, you’ll also find a few pioneering family physicians, cardiologists, bariatric specialists, and even a neurosurgeon! Folks, they’re out there. I think we’re just on the cusp of making these pivotal networking connections.

With that, let me open up the issue for lively discussion as a good old Primal community – a resourceful, thoughtful, informed lot if there ever was one, I’d say. Share your thoughts on connecting with Primal minded practitioners or seeking out professional networks that support Primal physicians. Thanks for reading today.

TAGS:  Big Pharma

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

187 Comments on "Primal Minded Practitioners?"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Arthurb999
Arthurb999
5 years 4 months ago

I found a cardiologist who’s very much on board with paelo principals. I see him once a year for a full work up… full blood work (including vit D), ecocardiogram, etc. Good stuff.

Cindy
Cindy
5 years 4 months ago

You are so very lucky! A friend of mine sees a cardiologist who has him on a strict CW diet. His wife recently posted in FB about how she was cooking bacon for his birthday – the one day a year he’s “allowed” to have it.

Ugh! I just wanted to scream through the computer, but I’ve discovered that’s not a positive way to help others 😉

Paleo Josh
5 years 4 months ago

I don’t have health insurance, so… ya. I prey that I am healthy. And why I live primal. Apple and bacon every day keep the doctor away!

Michael
Michael
5 years 1 month ago

Will you please share his / her name and location? Thanks.

Michael
Michael
4 years 11 months ago

who is s/he? And where?

Real Food RD
Real Food RD
5 years 4 months ago

great topic! we are definitely out here, but having directories and networks will definitely help. The ADA still considers Paleo a fad diet, so they aren’t likely to help us reach people who are trying to find us any time soon.

Christine
5 years 4 months ago

Yes we are out here! As a well read, primal-paleo-evolutionary-registered dietitian here in Manchester, New Hampshire, I am lucky to work with a physician, Dr Catherine Shanahan, who practices Deep Nutrition, focused on the roots of medical issues at a cellular genetic level. Marks carbohydrate curve is a great tool.

Primal Toad
5 years 4 months ago

The primal community had substantial growth over the past year. I know this because I have been primal for 13 months. I sense a MASSIVE growth over the next year.

I firmly believe that it will not be long at all before more and more health related professionals begin giving advice based on primal principles. It will grow too much to not see this happen and primal living is simply logical living.

Let us all keep spreading the word!

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 4 months ago
If we all spread the word there isns’t enough meat to go around for everyone. Then we’re right back to square 1. Also, I think that the grass-fed community has grown, but not the primal one. People showing up at farmer’s markets may buy grassfed everything, but also march right over to the ‘organic’ soy and wheat and gluten free rice stand and make that their biggest purchase. Also, every year I’ve noticed people buying fruit out the yin yang..but ignore vegetables. I was the only 1 that purchased most of the diff. kinds of lettuce everyone had, the farmer’s… Read more »
Cam
Cam
5 years 4 months ago

There’s definitely enough meat to go around… if we redefine the concept. I, for one, welcome our new insect edibles.

Indiana farmer
Indiana farmer
5 years 4 months ago

Due to government subsidies & insurance that guarantee farmers a profit a lot of farmers have abandoned livestock production. Absent government intervention livestock is probably more profitable than grain production, and a lot less polluting to streams and rivers. You can thank Monsanto & Archer Daniels Midland for government involvement in agriculture.

Miss*Kris:primal
Miss*Kris:primal
5 years 4 months ago

I have yet to start school, but going for a career that would promote primal health is something I get so passionate about… or maybe opening a primal restaurant. Mark, how did you start your supplement company?

Miss*Kris:primal
Miss*Kris:primal
5 years 4 months ago

I was hoping to go a nutritionist route, but seeing how hopelessly intolerant with conventional wisdom nowadays, I find myself at a crossroad; in which I’m not willing to compromise.

peggy
peggy
5 years 4 months ago

Also – if we are vocal about our lifestyle(s) with our practioners. If they see what we are able to accomplish with our own bodies, with our own diets & exercise, one-by-one we can open other eyes and ears…

bbuddha
bbuddha
5 years 4 months ago

I wish it were that easy. You have to remember that many in the medical field have been very effectively brainwashed. They are sleep deprived for long periods of time while being fed CW. I’ve had my run in’s.

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 4 months ago
My best friends husband is a Radiologist. He came down with thyroid cancer. He chose chemo ( came in a pill not a liquid) over surgery or diet. He believes 100% what he practices and doesn’t think that his job or diet had anything to do with him coming down with cancer. He thinks 100% that radiology kills cancer…that’s how brainwashed these medical professionals are! And when I told my friend how I eat now and finally lost weight and all my other ailments, all she said was “That’s interesting”. She continues to gain weight and b*tches about it, but… Read more »
shadia
shadia
5 years 4 months ago
I’m sorry to disagree with your statement, but radiation therapy IS an effective means to kill cancer cells. It works. It kills the cells. But the problem with radiation and chemo is they generally target the healthy tissues too. There are also some well-known hereditary syndromes that have thyroid cancers as part of the constellation, so to assume your friend’s job and/or livestyle “game” him cancer is inaccurate. I am a physician myself. I’ve seen patients cured by allopathic medicine. It works. The problem is that its not the absence of disease that indicates health, and that’s largely how we… Read more »
Jen
Jen
5 years 4 months ago

My husband had thyroid cancer last year. Experts are increasingly finding solid links to environmental toxins. Although we’ve always practiced non-toxic living and eating, he grew up next to a farm that used pesticides. Although diet and a low stress lifestyle certainly can increase your overall health, it’s a mistake to assume they’re the only influences. More and more of us are living in a chemical soup (no matter how hard we try to avoid it). Industry — agriculture and otherwise — gets the green light to poison the environment and the population.

Robin
Robin
5 years 4 months ago

Including more raditaion now being pumped into our atmosphere. I’m surprised Fukushima has not made it on to a blog about health. If you want to look at cancer caused by radiation, consider that 50% of breast cancer occurs in women living near nuclear power plants but they only account for 10% of the female population.

Primal Palate is a retard
Primal Palate is a retard
5 years 4 months ago

Your’e an idiot & a retard “primal palate.” Seriously, stop giving people incorrect information.

Vivian
Vivian
5 years 1 month ago

THANK YOU!!! I’ve had that same problem with MANY people. It edges on offensive the amount I get complained to when I’ve offered an alternative. To one I said: Look, you don’t have to go Primal, but at least try something new for once or shut up about your weight and food.

She decided to shut up and continue her ways that have gotten her nowhere in YEARS.

A.West
A.West
5 years 4 months ago

With the government certifying and regulating everything relating to health, this could be a rising threat to anyone attempting to practice medicine in contradiction to state dogma.

Perhaps Primal/Paleo practitioners should create a religion, and all of those practicing health advise can call themselves priests. The government hasn’t attacked freedom of religion to the same degree it’s attacked freedom to conduct voluntary trade for mutual benefit.

Right now, we have witch doctors masquerading as doctors, so one might need to reverse roles and have doctors’ rights protected by masquerading as religion-protected witch doctors.

Kim
Kim
5 years 4 months ago

I like this!!

Hal
5 years 4 months ago

If it’s gonna be a religion, I’m out.

Matt
Matt
5 years 4 months ago

It already is a religion from the outside looking in. Even from the periphery looking to the fundamentalists.

Hal
5 years 4 months ago
Not really. There is a lot of independent peer reviewed research out there that points to this being a very solid diet and lifestyle, overall. What’s more, there are thousands (tens of?) people who are experiencing great success following a simple prescription. Yes it requires that you change your habits, yes it requires that you possibly buck some existing trends, but that’s not a bad thing. Everyone used to smoke, then some people came out saying “Uh, I don’t think this is good for you.” Sure they were laughed at, at first, but now we have government ordinances that prevent… Read more »
Annika
Annika
5 years 4 months ago

It’s true, I’ve had an argument with someone who seems to think I belong to a cult and have been completely brainwashed by it.. 😀 This is despite the fact that I gave numerous bits of research to support my argument, and his only one was “I’m a biochemistry student so clearly I’m the better informed” …

All I can say is that if this is what people thing of as a ‘cult’, then maybe they aren’t all as bad as they seem!

Jeff
Jeff
5 years 4 months ago

I think the Vegans already did this (“create a religion”) 😉

stephanie
stephanie
5 years 4 months ago

I’m a nutritional anthropology major. I’ve found this to be the area I can learn the most from. I’m interested mostly in researching cultures diets in correlation with their common disorders and diseases. Anyone else in this field?

Weatherwax
Weatherwax
5 years 4 months ago

Didn’t know that WAS a field, but it sounds totally fascinating. What’s your area of interest?

Katie
5 years 4 months ago
When I was finishing up my Nutrition work, it was definitely frustrating! I had to choose the answer on tests that I knew they wanted, rather than the actual correct answer. I definitely tried to work in some primal influence in papers and written assignments, but it was a definite up hill battle. Now that I’m done, I’m able to work with clients from a primal/real food perspective, but getting here was tough. One piece of advice for women- look for nurse midwives rather than OB/GYNs. Even if you aren’t pregnant or planning to be, most midwives offer well-woman and… Read more »
Jen
Jen
5 years 4 months ago

Katie, totally agree on nurse midwives. I wouldn’t trade my nurse midwife group for anything!

Peggy The Primal Parent
5 years 4 months ago

Wise words Wellness Mama! When you’re pregnant you have to stick with an OB/GYN for 9 months in a very intimate fashion. If the doctor is against the primal diet, which most MDs are it seems, it’s going to be a battle at a really critical and vulnerable time.

There are plenty of midwives out there who support the primal lifestyle and diet. In my own neighborhood I think there are two.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 4 months ago
I would take that one step farther and say stick with licensed (non-nurse) midwives if possible. I had one for my first pregnancy and she was wonderful. Unfortunately I ended up needing an emergency c-section. During my second pregnancy the midwifery laws and regulations in my state were in flux and it wasn’t clear if she could work with me again. I went to an OB for a VBAC. While my OB was of similar mind to the midwife, the CNMs that were part of the practice were anything but naturally minded. Thankfully I only saw them twice (when the… Read more »
lalabomba
lalabomba
5 years 4 months ago

When I told my midwife that I was paleo she seemed to glow with delight. I have been getting praise from them (the midwife practice I go to has 5 midwives) as well. They love that I am already apart of this lifestyle because they recommend it to their clients and they have had great success with those who have followed it 🙂 Midwives are just awesome in general though hahaha

Jackie
Jackie
1 year 8 months ago

That is so heartening to hear! I’m seriously considering embarking on the path of student midwife and have been trying to pull up any information on midwifery with a primal/paleo sway (an area in which I would consider specializing). I thought this information would be easier to find, given midwifery is holistic, focuses on wellness, and de-medicalizing child birth. But it hasn’t been. I would LOVE to dig into some resources! If your midwives have any advice, please send it my way. I would be incredibly grateful 🙂

Nutritionator
5 years 4 months ago
I’m starting two years of school this fall to work towards an M.S. in Nutrition and this article couldn’t be more perfectly in tune with my own thoughts lately. I love the biochemistry of nutrition and currently have a B.S. in biotechnology. I see the schooling in my future (which will be all CW based) as a challenge, not a set back. If primal enthusiasts actually plan on changing how the population as a whole views food and fitness, we need to go the source of the poor information. For a career I plan on running my own personal website… Read more »
Gabriel Syme
Gabriel Syme
5 years 4 months ago

I put my diabetic mother on a Primal diet 5 months ago (I am not a physician). She lost 22 lbs, started sleeping at night, lost a noticeable amount of swelling, lowered her blood pressure and blood glucose substantially, and went of 3 or 4 medications. Her doctor was thrilled! Just kidding, her doctor lectured her about not taking her meds. I was shocked.

Scott
Scott
5 years 4 months ago
Your not alone Gabriel. After going paleo I lowered my triglycertides from 380 to 71 and have HDL and LDL nearly normal while movng in teh right directions sans the Simvastatin. I tossed it out. When my Dr. asks if Im still taking it I smile and say no, Im paleo. He just shakes his head, but cannot argue the hard evidence. My brother in law is a type 2 diabetic and has been since he was 11. He recently went paleo and has lost 30 pounds and reduced his insulin use by 50%. His Doctor also voices his concerns… Read more »
Vivian
Vivian
5 years 1 month ago

You give me hope. Only my boyfriend has considered Primal.

My parents are slowly beginning to think more primal, even though they can’t consciously see it. They eat substantially less white rice than they used to (we’re chinese)… but that’s about it.

And my dad’s a lost cause. He’s the most stubborn man alive and loves his Costco dinner rolls and italian waffle cookies more than me (jk!)

Lee
Lee
5 years 4 months ago

She needs a new doctor.

Eric
5 years 4 months ago

Dr. Davis’ blog and personal help, via email, helped me far more than the 3 CW cardiologists did over the past 10 years.

Jaybird
5 years 4 months ago

The easiest way to be primal and employed is likely personal training. I have been barefoot for 3 years and have been doing “functional bodyweight training” with my clients since getting out of school. I graduated from Ohio State with a degree in exercise science. As a trainer I don’t have wear shoes, though I typically don fivefingers, and I can go against CW in both training and nutrition without so much as a raised eyebrow. In fact, I would say it says me apart and opens me up to a whole new set of clientelle.

Olly
Olly
5 years 4 months ago

Wow, I could have written almost exactly the same post, except that I live in the UK!

marthat
marthat
5 years 4 months ago
I am an RD, practicing in Canada, graduated about 20 years ago, in the heyday of the low fat movement. I have become more primal in my personal approach over the past 8 months or so, and am moving my family that way by inches. However, I have not yet had the opportunity to network with other RD’s in this area. From what I know of them, they are all mired deep into CW. As are most of my friends. I gently challenge them when they make comments in my hearing about low fat or low cholesterol and if they… Read more »
Adrian Betts
5 years 4 months ago

To be fair to CW-minded physicians and other providers, they often get patients who are only willing to “manage disease”. I know several doctors who bang their heads against the wall trying to convince their patients to make even minor adjustments to their behavior, only to see those same patients again six months later having made no lifestyle changes. After a while of that, I might give up and just start prescribing pills, too.

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 4 months ago
As a future physician, I see this a lot when I am shadowing and talking to docs. Primal-minded people are exceptional clientele who are truly motivated to have a healthy mind and body, while most people just want the quick fix: the surgery, the pill, whatever, as long as they can keep on keepin’ on. Plus, you have to consider the structure of the medical system. Most doctors simply don’t have the time to sit down and give a good explanatory lecture on why certain diets are the best way to go, especially because the vast majority of their patients… Read more »
Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 4 months ago

That’s what happened to me.
I kept ‘preaching’ to everyone around me, showing evidence, giving a couple seminars, trying to convince friends…and what I got 99% of the time was a look that meant I should be in a nut house.
People get annoyed after “grains are bad”…and generally don’t pay much attention to whatever follows those words. They just want me to shut up and move on.

People are more than happy to talk about their diseases and seem to really enjoy the conversations. I don’t offer any advise anymore…they can all just sick my duck 🙂

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 4 months ago

I start a program in Holistic Nutrition in the Fall here: http://www.instituteofholisticnutrition.com/ I wasn’t interested in going the standard Dietician route for exactly these reasons. While obviously it’s not paleo specific, the education and qualification gives you the freedom to make recommendations based on what’s best for your client, and not what government food guidelines say.

Anne Palzer
5 years 4 months ago

I am a naturopathic doctor and midwife in Arizona who advises all my patients, pregnant or not, to read your book and anything Paleo related. The patients who follow the guidelines do really well and the babies born to these mothers are very healthy!!
A few of my colleagues also recommend Paleo eating habits/lifestyle, after reading the research and seeing results themselves, it’s hard not to!!

Ashley
Ashley
5 years 4 months ago
Awesome! I’m glad to see a fellow naturopath here. I am currently attending a 4-year medical school to become a licensed naturopathic physician. We are a small community of professionals, but we are growing. I was always interested in medicine, but I strongly disagreed with the “treat the symptoms” approach. Naturopathy was the perfect fit. We focus on treating the cause and re-establishing the basis for health with the least invasive therapies. Unfortunately, much of what they are teaching us about nutrition at my school is very conventional. I just shake it off and continue to study my own Paleo… Read more »
David Fisher
5 years 4 months ago
I can definitely speak to this topic because I will start my dietetic hospital internship to become an RD in July. I fully believe in Primal principles, but I also learned a lot from my nutrition degree. Loren Cordain gave me great advice – learn what you can from your professors even if you don’t fully agree. In applying this, I let the calories in, calories out and whole grain comments roll right off without affecting me. As a result I have a great basis in science and a preliminary basis in medical nutrition therapy (as delivered by a regular… Read more »
Val
Val
5 years 4 months ago

David, from a fellow RD- YAY and welcome!!! You will do great! I admire and greatly appreciate your attitude of learning and taking what you can but not letting the teachings we get become absolute dogma. I take interns every year and will hopefully have one someday who is also knowledgeable about the Paleo diet/way of living (I always teach them a bit about it, some think I’m a wack job, but some listen and are open minded!). Best of luck to you in your internship

KS
KS
5 years 4 months ago

Val,

Do you work at a hospital that does a DI? I’m applying next year – it would be great to be able to apply somewhere where someone knows about the Paleo lifestyle!!

Val (RD)
Val (RD)
5 years 4 months ago
No- I work at a regular old Continued Care Retirement Community in the Seattle area. My abilities to apply paleo diet principles in my work is definitely limited, but I try as I can. I serve a nursing home and 2 assisted living facilities as well as a larger population of retired seniors. There are at least 3 Didactic Dietetic Internships operating in my area- Bastyr, Sea Mar, and WSU (we have I think 4 undergrad dietetics programs in WA). I take interns from Sea Mar every year at my facility- Long Term Care and Foodservice Management rotations. Almost all… Read more »
Val
Val
5 years 4 months ago
I am a Registered Dietitian, and supportive of Paleo/Primal diet principles and practices (and live them myself and recommend them to others). Those with similar views and aspirations to become a R.D.- YOU ARE NEEDED. I sat at a RD conference last week in WA where an accepted presenter was an anemic, evangelican RD vegan (Gah!), and in another class the whole group laughed as a RD told of how she quickly turned a client off the paleo diet of her Crossfitter husband in order to increase her fertility (umm, sob.) Please see the fact that the ADA/Dietitians still see… Read more »
Eric
5 years 4 months ago

I like your way of thinking- made me think and I agree with you as I’m the one who avoided RD schooling because I couldn’t stomach the CW thinking.

You gave another view I hadn’t thought of and I thank you.

Megan
Megan
5 months 30 days ago

Hi Val, I am interested in becoming an RD and supporting primal/paleo principles. This is sort of a major life change, though, and I have absolutely no idea where to start. Do you have any tips or advice? Is there a way of becoming certified without having to deal with all the CW (are there integrative and natural programs)?

Norm
Norm
5 years 4 months ago

I’m getting my BS in Biochemistry this saturday and will be starting medical school in the fall. Apart from networking, I intend to push against the CW as often as I’m able. I’m sure my professors will hate it, but a few ought to be swayed a bit. This boat is going to rock for sure!

Scott S
Scott S
5 years 4 months ago

I think Mark’s onto something with the FM moniker. It seems like Kurt Harris already figured out that path himself, rebranding his approach (or at least repositioning) from Primal/Paleo to “Archevor.” The principles are the same, though a bit less dogmatic in general. Could be a nice blueprint for the rest of us to follow to help us make some inroads with beliefs that go against CW.

Intertia is tough to overcome, and I’ve found that the more drastic the change, the greater the resistance. Putting a softer spin on it is, perhaps, a key.

Dalat
Dalat
5 years 4 months ago

I’m going into acupuncture and herbs. Primal in my subjective pov is a great lifestyle more should try it.

Dr. Gail
5 years 4 months ago

I am a chiropractor and push the primal/paleo diet on my patients like the CW MD’s push medications on theirs!!! It is the one and only diet that makes sense on a genetic level! Dr. Mark Chestnut actually teaches a version of the primal lifestyle in his wellness certification program for chiropractors!

AllopathicMary
AllopathicMary
5 years 4 months ago
The conflict between CW & Primal does not even begin to touch the problems that ail the “health care industry.” In my opinion (1980 MD graduate board-certified internist), the very core of the doctor-patient relationship is rotten in many if not most instances. It is personified in a patient’s expectation that the doc is there to fix him/her, either with magic drugs or in some shamanistic bond that essentially amounts to the placebo affect (no disrepect–the placebo affect can be a powerful ally). It is further revealed whenever a patient’s response to advice involving changes they must make shows their… Read more »
Brenda
Brenda
5 years 4 months ago
I go to a natural healing type doctor that is also conventional when need be. He says he does not give out diets which I found surprising since that is am important part of truly healing. Maybe it is because people don’t stick to them anyway. All he has said is that I should keep my blood sugar balanced. I brought in my Primal Blueprint book last week and we talked briefly about it. I figured he would understand since it does go along with keeping blood sugar even. He wasn’t necessarily against it but did say that in the… Read more »
Weatherwax
Weatherwax
5 years 4 months ago

How ’bout Cain and Abel, though? God didn’t accept the grain offering–he only wanted the meat. Try that on him!

Susan
Susan
5 years 4 months ago

That approach might actually work on my friends..I live in the bible belt. 🙂

sherry
sherry
5 years 4 months ago

Wellness Mama has an article on her website about the Bible and grains of biblical times and grains today. It is an interesting read. Basically she explains each of the following statements and more:
1. The Grains of Biblical Times are Much Different Than The Grains of Today!
2. The Grains of Biblical Times Were Prepared Differently Than The Grains of Today!
3. Grain Consumption Didn’t Begin Until After the Fall
Read the article for a complete explanation that makes sense.

Larry Clapp
Larry Clapp
5 years 4 months ago

> He wasn’t necessarily against it but did say that in the Bible it says something like “Wheat is the staff of life”. I really didn’t know what to say with that. I wasn’t sure how to argue with the Bible

Quote a different work of fiction. Maybe something from Star Trek.

Matt
Matt
5 years 4 months ago

A few things about meat that stuck out to me, when I read the Bible. In the Old Testament the Jews preform sacrifices. I never remember them sacrificing wheat… It took MEAT! The Bible says that young Christians are given milk… But Strong MEAT belongs to strong Christians, men of EXPERIENCE! It says Christians that continue to feed on milk instead of MEAT are weak, defective, can’t focus on deep things and are not fit for business!! Hows that for PRIMAL!!

lalabomba
lalabomba
5 years 4 months ago

Matt- your comment made me think of a funny idea for a paleo bumper sticker.

“Meat NOT Wheat!” LOL

Stacey
Stacey
5 years 4 months ago

I related so much to the first quote. I, too, and a dietetics major, and to become an RD, I have to do an internship through the ADA. I hope at some point to be able to forge my own path, possibly even write a book, or at the very least be able to specialize and help people with wheat aversions or celiac disease. I just can’t imagine going against my beliefs and preaching to patients about the “goodness of whole grains” and essentially having all of their blood on my hands, so to speak.

Anna Stephens
Anna Stephens
5 years 4 months ago

I had a check up with the practice nurser here in England a couple months ago and she asked how I’d managed to lose 20lbs and get perfect blood pressure. I told her I was following the Paleo lifestyle – not only had she never heard of it, but after listening to it she said it sounded fantastic.
So with luck, she’ll spread the word at my practice!

Madbiker
Madbiker
5 years 4 months ago

Yet another reason why licensing cartels need to be eliminated. Florists, dentists, nutritionists, doctors, teachers, interior decorators…if the person can do the job to the standards and practices YOU, the consumer, demand, then pay him/her for his/her services. The practical demand for quality control of medical/decorating/educational/ professionals has created ridiculous bars to entry and a groupthink mindset to which one MUST adhere or become a pariah.

jj
jj
5 years 4 months ago

I don’t think this is an entirely reasonable way to look at things. My father needed open heart surgery for a congenital heart defect (bicuspid aortic valve not lifestyle related). When you’re talking about a surgeon opening up someone’s chest, stopping their beating heart and replacing a structural element of their heart, you’re talking about something for which licensure is important. There should be a ridiculous bar to entry there… it’s a ridiculously difficult thing to do.

james
james
5 years 4 months ago
Thanks for posting this, Mark. As a primal Neurologist it is certainly a struggle to practice medicine the way I want to. I do think the tide is slooowly shifting, but there are some pretty significant obstacles in our way, including: – aligning with chiropracters, naturopaths, etc. isn’t really a viable option. One of the reasons we have chosen a primal approach is because it is based on sound reasoning and science. Conventional medicine has its flaws, as we know, but it’s not because it isn’t science based. It’s that some of it is based on bad science. Aligning with… Read more »
Holly
Holly
5 years 4 months ago
All of these comments are inspiring! I am a Family Practice Nurse Practitioner. I am living Paleo and find that I want to educate all of my patients….but must do so carefully. When I start going against what their endocrinologist tell them, I may be out of a job. So basically I take the approach of telling my patients that everyone is different and they need to do what is best for their bodies. Which could include the Paleo way and I advise them to read about it, try it and then form their own opinions. I try to live… Read more »
Nina
Nina
5 years 4 months ago

I too am a Nurse Practitioner and just starting eating paleo because I was having chronic morning hand stiffness. I was told by a rheumatologist I may possible have inflammatory arthritis. Paleo has literally STOPPED my hand pains and made me feel fabulous. I, too, try to encourage my patients to eat a “cleaner” lifestyle but it is difficult. Thanks for this post–I’m glad there are people out there that practice medicine and paleo living 🙂

james
james
5 years 4 months ago
Thanks for posting this, Mark. As a primal Neurologist it is certainly a struggle to practice medicine the way I want to. I do think the tide is slooowly shifting, but there are some pretty significant obstacles in our way, including: 1. Mandated “outcome measures”. In an attempt to assess health outcomes, the government has created outcome measures to assess a hospital or physician’s effectiveness. One of these, for example, is number of stroke patients discharged on a statin – the idea is no stroke patient should leave the hospital without them. And if I don’t discharge every patient hospitalized… Read more »
transposition
transposition
5 years 4 months ago

Amen! The lists of “primal” practitioners are littered with all manner of quacks, charlatans and phonies. It is to the point that as a physician, I almost want to avoid the terms “primal” or “paleo” to avoid being painted with the same brush as chiropractors, “naturopaths”, accupunturists, and other purveyors of woo.

The reason to adopt a “primal” approach to life in because it is based on the best science available. Unfortunately, some people confuse the rejection of conventional medical approaches to health and disease with the rejection of science as a whole.

Victoria
Victoria
5 years 4 months ago

I am so glad you have brought this up. There do seem to be a lot of quacks hanging on to the primal/paleo movement, which is frustrating for those of us who find the rigorous scientific approach one of the strongest aspects of the lifestyle.

Teresa
Teresa
5 years 4 months ago

Yes. “Get With the Guidelines” is driving my neurologist husband crazy, for exactly the reasons you say. He is trying to find CME conferences that are coming from a primal perspective. Do you have any ideas?

Philip Hinds
Philip Hinds
5 years 4 months ago
As a family doctor who is behind the low carb higher fat / protein approach due to its scientific basis, I also struggle with the risk of being labelled with alternative medicine. I am sceptical of medicine and CW (sceptical meaning I question it and look for the evidence), however much, but not all, of modern medicine has a great deal to offer us all. I just dont buy all of it. I am sceptical of alternative medicine and unfortunately I see little evidence for most of it. Once it has a scientific basis it ceases to be alternative. For… Read more »
dtnmommy
dtnmommy
5 years 4 months ago
Reading the comments, I’m really surprised the RD world is so anti-paleo! I’m insulin -resistant, and have worked with different RDs that worked for the endocrinologists treating my disease. They all advocated a primalish lifestyle, although not by name, and put me on meal plans that greatly minimized grains, milk and cheese, and were very, very anti-sugar and sugar subs. For example, I could have no more than a slice of bread with a meal, but 3-5 oz protein, few oz of fats, and as many green leafys as I could eat. They were very much anti-grain for people with… Read more »
Val (R.D.)
Val (R.D.)
5 years 4 months ago

Thank you for the props for the RD’s you worked with- I’m so glad you had good experiences and they encouraged you in the right direction. We’re not all evil CW-spouting grain pushers (ha) 🙂 I agree, perhaps the RD’s you worked with were more comfortable with grain avoidance because of the fields they worked in. If you say “eliminate grains” most RD’s will immediately respond negatively. But presented as replacing grains with fresh whole veggies, greens and fruit, it’s not as alarming and pretty obvious (or should be) that vit/min/fiber intake could actually increase.

Anna Morrison
Anna Morrison
5 years 4 months ago
Hi, I’m an avid Primal/Paleo lifestyler and a Cardiovascular ICU Nurse. Mark, this post couldn’t have been more timely! Since going primal a year and a half ago, and watching the amazing transformation in my own life, I have felt a tremendous disconnect between my personal primal beliefs about health and the beliefs that are espoused by the established cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons with whom I work. When patients ask me how they should modify their diets after open-heart surgery, I will discuss with them (in the quiet of their private rooms) the need to reduce their carbohydrate/sugar intake (including… Read more »
Stefanie
Stefanie
5 years 4 months ago

Anna, my post is right below yours. Sounds like we struggle with similar issues, just a different patient population! When I finally applied to and got accepted to school to be a CNM I finally felt like I was on the right path. Good luck with your application, I’ll cross my fingers for you!
Stefanie

Stefanie
Stefanie
5 years 4 months ago
I am currently a nurse-midwife student, and have just discovered the primal lifestyle in the last 6 weeks or so. I could not help but notice that the things that have drawn me to this lifestyle are the same things that have drawn me to midwifery – what I like to think of as essentially a belief in the wisdom of mother nature. I also believe, very much so, in the power of science and research, and have thus taken great joy in reading Primal Blueprint, Perfect Health Diet, Kurt Harris’ blog, and the Healthy Skeptic blog. I had to… Read more »
Holly
Holly
5 years 4 months ago

I was a L&D nurse for 8 years. Most of the practice should be considered illegal. I can’t believe how we try and control nature and then act suprised when it backfires. Congrats on the midwifery!

Janet NZ
5 years 4 months ago

Wow! I’ve been thinking and thinking about becoming primal for weeks.
I have celiac disease and have been gluten-free for 16 months, but still have on-going gut issues.
I talked to my GP, who it turns out, is a big fan of the ‘caveman’ diet!
Five days in, and I can honestly say I’m beginning to feel really good.
We need more GP’s like mine.

peggy
peggy
5 years 4 months ago

I have a good friend who has Celiac & therefore gluten free. for about the same amount of time as you Janet.
I just got her to do a whole30 with me last month. In just a few days she noticed a huge difference. Now she’s been off for a few days & is ready to go back at it hard core. for good.
Yes, we need more gps like yours

DAVE PARSONS
DAVE PARSONS
5 years 4 months ago

I wish the medical folks and my insurance provider were on the same page…my provider wont pay and they wont accept my insurance because of it…So I torment my regular doctor. LOLOL
Pretty sure that some day they will all realize that this way of life saves lives and saves money too…and then we can provide for all..from rich to poor…
GROK ON>>>

Sandee
Sandee
5 years 4 months ago

I’m lucky. I started seeing a new doctor who focuses her practice on people with diabestes. I told her that I follow the Primal Blueprint and when I went back in to dicuss my blood results, she told me she purchased the book, read it and approves of it 100% and will be sharing with other patients.

Sean Donahue
5 years 4 months ago

My partner and I are both traditional herbalists (and she is a nutritionist as well.) We support our clients in moving toward a more primal lifestyle — meeting each where they are at and building from there. While Weston Price and vegetarian perspectives still dominate the herbal community, there are more and more primal herbalists out there.

Jessica
Jessica
5 years 4 months ago
Just thought I’d chime in on this as it is right up my alley! I am an advanced practice RN in BC working in a remote First Nations community and have embraced the primal/paleo lifestyle. The incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity in First Nations populations is disproportionately high. I am glad to report that many of our physicians, advanced practice RNs and nurse practitioners are proponents of primal-esque diets. It is essentially just advocating that our communities return to eating ‘traditionally’. We have had great successes in our communities with this approach. While CW still has a stronghold… Read more »
jj
jj
5 years 4 months ago
I’m an epidemiologist and have many friends in the health sciences and public health fields. Here is what I would suggest: If you want a career where you don’t have to feel like you’re recommending a lifestyle that you would not advocate to a friend, then focus on the massive areas of medicine and health that are not about those things. Infectious disease is a perfect example, infectious diseases have been with us since paleolithic times, and the advent of medications to treat bacterial infections has genuinely been of benefit to human health and well being. Emergency medicine is another… Read more »
alex
alex
5 years 4 months ago

It’s kind of like medical marijuana ,in a way.
Yes there’s a history of safe use.
Yes there’s clinical evidence.
Yes it’s effective.
But do we personally make much money off it ?

Brett
Brett
5 years 4 months ago

I’m halfway through my doctorate in physical therapy, and fully plan to incorporate primal/paleo principles into my treatment plans, consultations, and education of patients. When you truly understand how the human body was built to move, you can go a long way in rehabilitating injuries and promoting real fitness.

I just wish I had a physician near me who was primal-minded. It’s definitely frustrating trying to be healthy by basically doing the opposite of what CW doctors try to tell you.

TxCHLInstructor
5 years 4 months ago

“Sure, there are a few big names: Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades,”

Dunno about the others you mentioned, but the Drs. Eades are way too busy peddling their high-dollar precision slow-cookers to do anything as mundane as practicing medicine. I’m guessing selling stuff is more lucrative.

Brenda
Brenda
5 years 4 months ago
It is inspiring to hear all the professionals out there who are having a ripple effect on spreading the word about paleo/primal. I just wanted to mention…..someone here had something negative to say about the Weston A. Price Foundation. I assume because they don’t totally follow the recommendations we believe in at first glance. Yes it is true that they promote eating sprouted grains and beans that have been soaked first before cooking. But I have been following them closely for years now and I over and over again also hear them tell certain people to eliminate grains for health… Read more »
trackback

[…] post by Mark Sisson […]

Derek
Derek
5 years 4 months ago
I liked this post a lot. I am going to medical school right now to get my MD and have had this on my mind a lot. I’ve been primal for awhile now and have enjoyed the health benefits this life style brings. I have also been studying the detailed science of the functions of the body 80+ hours a week for quite some time and I can see the sense in this diet. I think many of you would be surprised to know that the Primal/Paleo movement is even being heard in the MD schools. I have spoken with… Read more »
josh
josh
5 years 4 months ago
I think that what often gets missed in the discussion about the problems with “conventional” medicine is that many times health care providers are simply providing the care their patients ask for. Like you rightly say, less than 5% of the patients we see (I’d put it under 1%) are actually willing to make lifestyle changes. The rest expect a quick fix, usually in pill form, and will walk out disgusted if instead they get a discussion about the value of lifestyle changes. And they’ll just move on to the next doctor. Unfortunately, the health care system we have, which… Read more »
Kim
Kim
5 years 4 months ago
I had a fantastic doctor when I lived in New York. But I have yet to find anyone who comes close in the L.A. area. I keep scouring Jimmy Moore’s directory, but the only one who is located even remotely close to where I live (and not really) is some dude who is pictured with his shirt off! Not exactly what I’m looking for in an MD. Why can’t I find a doctor who is natural/primal/paleo/low carb and also professional? Where is this person? I am going to keep an eye on Robb’s directory and hope for the best.
Lisa
Lisa
5 years 4 months ago

There may be an independent nurse practitioner in that area. Moore does not like to list NPs, only MDs – but for primary care and many other specialties the NP (I am one if you couldn’t tell)delivers equal quality care. So ask via word of mouth and I’m sure you’ll find one!

Victoria
Victoria
5 years 4 months ago

On a completely unrelated note, what is it about Paleo/Primal that makes guys insist on being photographed with their shirts off? I love the lifestyle, but I could do without all the blogs featuring shirtless dudes.

MichaelJ
MichaelJ
5 years 4 months ago
Thank you for posting this. As a PA I have been having some of this dilemma as well. Do I go against the establishment or do I tell my patients about Paleo/Primal? I have lost 20 pounds and have another 80 to go but I feel that as the weight comes off and my patients begin to ask me about how I’m losing weight then it’ll be easier because I can say from experience, “This is how I lost it.” It would be nice to work for someone who is also Primal, so the links to the networks may be… Read more »
Ryan McMichael, DC
5 years 4 months ago
Thanks Mark, for all the helpful information you provide to those seeking a life of better health and wellness. I’ll try to keep this brief by simply confirming that there are options for those who feel they belong in the healthcare system, and yet are not sure where or in what position they can be of most aid. In my mind (and yes, I’m biased), earning a Doctor of Chiropractic degree will likely give them the most flexibility when it comes to helping others restore their health with conservative, evidenced-based care including nutrition & exercise recommendations. DCs are in short… Read more »
Timothy
5 years 4 months ago
One of the huge advantages of a primal approach to health is that you no longer need conventional health care practitioners. Why try to convert them with arguments and evidence when it’s much easier and cheaper simply to ignore them? Trying to conquer the system from within is a losing battle, because it really is about money, not health outcomes — and frankly, there’s comparatively little money to be made by putting people in control of their own health. Personally, I see a chiropractor once in a while and he’s able to adjust my spine and refer me for blood… Read more »
Jeremiah
Jeremiah
5 years 4 months ago

I second you on that Timothy. I hardly ever go to the doctors. I’ve never been a big fan of having your doctor take care of you, ya know, depending on them. I’ve begun my primal journey very recently. The hardest thing for me is cutting out the sweets, but it’s getting there. Rather than argue or try to convince family, friends and doctors, the benefits of this lifestyle, what better way than to LIVE this lifestyle and walk in a primal body.

Timothy
5 years 4 months ago
I know how you feel, Jeremiah. When you first start the primal program, the results can be so amazing that you’re motivated to convert all the people around you who are still stuck in the CW cage. Truth is, a word to the wise is sufficient. But for those who don’t quickly recognize the logic of living as our ancestors did, all the arguments and evidence in the world are unlikely to make much difference. Hang in there on cutting out the sweets! The cravings take a long time to go away, but eventually they do. Make sure you get… Read more »
wpDiscuz