Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
10 May

Primal Minded Practitioners?

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.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. 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 ?

    alex wrote on May 10th, 2011
  2. 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.

    Brett wrote on May 10th, 2011
  3. “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.

    TxCHLInstructor wrote on May 10th, 2011
  4. 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 reasons. To cut carbs for losing weight and cut grains for digestive diseases. They also promote eating raw dairy which seems to be a personal choice/option in the paleo/primal world. There are different ways of looking at that subject and I believe Mark isn’t totally against it and that is why he is Primal instead of Paleo right? I have heard many Paleo/Primal people still respect the Weston A. Price Foundation. They do a lot of good work fighting for sustainable farming and helping farmers being picked on by the government. They promote the eating of fermented foods which doesn’t get talked about enough in the Paleo world. On there website I have seen them embrace Paleo/Primal sometimes depending on the specific book. They give “thumbs up” for some and not for others. I think there is much to be gained by our coexistence.

    Brenda wrote on May 10th, 2011
  5. 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 several MDs about it, had several several MDs start randomly talking to me about it, and have seen family practice MDs referring their patients to this life style. The science is there and the newer generation of MDs is starting to see it. I have already spoken with many patients about the health benefits of this life style. The crux of the problem is that many people don’t want to change. They don’t have the willpower, they don’t care, they just want a pill to fix their problems. They don’t realize that it’s only covering up the symptoms and not getting to the base of the problem. Primal/paleo living isn’t difficult, it gives more freedom. But for people who can’t even give up drinking their 120 ounces of coke a day along with their fastfood lunch and their donuts for breakfast, it’s a pretty far stretch. People are addicted to our societies tastey poisons. I would say only about 5% of the patients I see each day are willing or have even tried to make life style changes. I know I will do what I can in the future to try and help patients see that this life style is easier than they could ever imagine and they could be as healthy as they were when they were in their 20s, or possibly ever in their lives.

    Derek wrote on May 10th, 2011
    • 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 is without a doubt subpar, is the one consumers are demanding. The system will change if the consumers demand it.

      josh wrote on May 10th, 2011
  6. 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.

    Kim wrote on May 10th, 2011
    • 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!

      Lisa wrote on May 11th, 2011
    • 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.

      Victoria wrote on May 12th, 2011
  7. 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 very useful here in the future.

    MichaelJ wrote on May 10th, 2011
  8. 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 number compared to MDs & DOs, but are the next largest group of physician-level providers in our country, meaning that they can legally diagnosis and treat a variety of conditions and disorders. And compared to our more conventionally-minded colleagues, the DC’s philosophy of achieving maximum health and wellness in the safest, most efficient way possible is about as close to The Primal Blueprint’s goals as you can get. Are all DC’s there on every issue presented on your site? No. But, I’ll bet that many are in close agreement with the 10 primal blueprint laws, and as a recent graduate (2007), I can confirm that we’re only getting closer as we gain the layers of supportive research to back it up. Often times while I’m reading your posts, I even feel like I’m right back in advanced nutrition class, which was based in part on the works of Weston A. Price, who emphasized the importance of whole-food nutrition after his observations regarding the effects of modern food and lifestyle on a specific group individuals compared to their close relatives who still lived very primally. At other times I feel like I’m back in advanced physical therapy and rehab class, which focused on the science of using full-body, functional exercises to achieve meaningful strength and balance.

    In the end, we’re getting closer. In fact, I’m sure that the President of the American Chiropractic Association will have finished your book within the next month or so – I actually just put it on his desk today after getting it back from my sister Lindsay (the best yoga instructor in Ohio and fellow dailyapple reader). My twin brother and I will often refer to The Primal Blueprint in our clinic for those patients who want to learn the basics at a faster rate than what we can provide at periodic appointments. So, just to be clear, I put the book on Dad’s desk and told him to check it out.

    Thank again Mark, for helping people find a better path!

    Ryan McMichael, DC wrote on May 10th, 2011
  9. 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 tests, which are the only two health services I’ve wanted since going primal. Prior to that, conventional health care practitioners were doing their best to destroy my health. Absent some major trauma, I don’t expect to seek their services ever again.

    Timothy wrote on May 10th, 2011
    • 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.

      Jeremiah wrote on May 10th, 2011
      • 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 plenty of good fat and protein from whole food sources, avoiding the temptation to cheat, and you’ll break the sugar habit as quickly as can be.

        Timothy wrote on May 11th, 2011
  10. Timely post. A gluten sensitive individual with Hashimotos’s thyroiditis, hypothyroidsim, and familial hypercholesterolemia. since going primal in January, I have effectively conquered a nasty autoimmune colitis, and lost weight (on 2000-2500 cal A DAY!) to the point that I may have to decrease my thyroid medication. I see my integrative doctor for my routine visit next week. We’ll see what he’s really made of. This should be good…

    Nannsi wrote on May 10th, 2011
  11. I’m just starting down the road to a joint degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition. The program I’m hoping to start Fall 2012 is offered by a leading Naturopathic University so they’re already leaning heavily toward the alternative side, and are well enough established to be able to help with placement on graduation.

    That said, I’m looking forward to starting a career where I get to help people remember how to play and eat like we were designed to!

    Jesse wrote on May 10th, 2011
  12. As a final year medical students, I have to agree that primal/paleo-thinking doctors are in a difficult position. Every exam I write, every presentation that I do has to be reworded to fit the mold. Don’t get me wrong, I want to shout my views from rooftops. But I also want to pass. I need to bite my tongue for the next few years until I can open my own general practice (i’m from Australia).
    But then other issues will arise.
    1. I can’t afford to be aligned with complementary medicine, because too much of it isn’t based on solid science.
    2.I have to avoid the “alternative” moniker to maintain credibility within medical community.
    3. I have to be wary of litigation. If I take somebody off statins and tell them to eat saturated fat and they go on to have a heart attack from years of eating CW, I am in the firing line of their relatives.
    Sounds like things are a little better in the US. Among my Australian colleagues, I am the weird one.

    Anastasia wrote on May 10th, 2011
    • With all due respect…medicine as it is currently practiced is not based on solid scientific research. The “lack of scientific research” is what most med folks fall back on when they want to discredit a modality other than their own. Examine vaccine “research”…the sacred cow of medicine. There are no double blind studies showing that vaccines actually work and are risk free. CW tells you they are but the research doesn’t exist.

      Tracy Kirschner, DC wrote on May 10th, 2011
      • Please tell me you’re joking about vaccines.

        If not, you just made Anastasia’s point for her. (surely you’ve heard about smallpox, polio, etc. – they didn’t disappear because everyone got their necks cracked)

        There’s a huge difference between the Primal Blueprint, which is based on solid science and understands what that means, and chiropractic, which is the antithesis of science. (http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4042)

        josh wrote on May 10th, 2011
        • You said exactoy what i was thinking, Josh, I just decided to hold my tongue because these sort of discussions invariably end in medical doctor vs alternative therapies and subsequent “doctor ignorance” bashing. Many medical professionals are just as frustrated with the system as paleo community is, but we are the ones who have to deal with it on a daily basis.

          Anastasia wrote on May 11th, 2011
      • I totally agree Tracy. Lipid hypothesis comes to mind. I’m just trying to make a point that there is a danger in rejecting science altogether. I believe in medicine how it should be. It makes me sad that paleo community seems to be rejecting doctors en masse. I think there is still hope for us :)

        Anastasia wrote on May 10th, 2011
  13. I discovered this site after a chiropractor gave me a WAPF pamphlet. There is hope out there!

    Sara wrote on May 10th, 2011
    • Like

      Tracy Kirschner, DC wrote on May 10th, 2011
  14. Or one of the Drs in training could get a grant and monitor a bunch of us as “test subjects”
    They could run all the standard tests – vitamin uptake, weight, muscle vs. fat, depression, etc…
    so it would be an “official” study

    And I wouldn’t mind being a test subject.

    rachel wrote on May 10th, 2011
  15. I go to a chiropractor and also seek out osteopaths rather than MDs in hopes that I will find more “holistic” health care when I need it. My husband and I differ on this. I was at the doctor with him yesterday and the MD talked about this ‘specialist’ she had who would work with my husband on a diabetic-friendly diet that would also get his triglycerides in good shape. When we were leaving I got a glimpse of this specialist as she was sitting at her desk – over 300 pounds and could barely get out of her chair. OH boy, I may have problems keeping my mouth shut about all the good fat (and no grains) in my diet. I mean, I can’t believe that more people aren’t accepting of the whole Primal/Paleo lifestyle – I was skeptical when I first heard about it but when I started reading article after article (and great books too), it ALL MAKES PERFECT SENSE!!! And I know it works because I live it. Great article as usual, Mark!

    Dawn wrote on May 10th, 2011
  16. Primal living has been the Chiropractic standard for many years…while not recognized by CW, it has long been the standard for good health. This standard is one that has been promoted by PRINCIPLED chiropractors for more than 100 years. We straight, vitalistic, principled chiros are swimming against the tide in our own dysfunctional profession.
    Research studies at Cal Irvine Medical School have shown that Network Spinal Analysis improves a persons quality of life in over 100 different areas. There is no research like this in chiropractic or any other wellness profession.
    Cheers!

    Tracy Kirschner, DC wrote on May 10th, 2011
    • Gotta say…I’m thrilled to see so many other DCs on this forum.

      Tracy Kirschner, DC wrote on May 10th, 2011
  17. I am a board certified Family Physician 21 years now. Late fall 2009 I committed to the Primal Blueprint approach for myself and lost 42 pounds in the ensuing months and have maintained the weight loss and my health since. I am very close to most of the patients I care for and my own transformation usually gets the dialogue started. The CW approach has failed many/most of these patients and the primal approach is an easy sell. As a physician I have NO problem recommending the primal diet as well as Mark’s approach to lifestyle and exercise. I find no flaws in the scientific rationale for the primal lifestyle and really have no problem integrating these principles into an otherwise traditional approach to family medicine

    Dr Paul wrote on May 10th, 2011
    • Let me know if you need a PA. ;) I also have been sharing my experience so far and the science behind why I feel this diet works for me and will work for them. I’ve also handed my patients notes with this website, as well as paleo and primal websites so they can research it themselves and make an educated decision. Yes, I am a practitioner and so they may take what I tell them with more credit than it should receive, but I also want them to look into it and not just do this because I told them to. We are in their healthcare together, not just me telling them what to do. That can be a hard thing to remember with our current healthcare practices/environment and with certain patients who just say, “just tell me what to do doc.”

      MichaelJ wrote on May 11th, 2011
  18. That’s it. I’m going to go for a degree in Naturopathic Medicine and open a private buisness to help the primal community!

    Miss*Kris:primal wrote on May 10th, 2011
  19. how nice it would have been if all the practicing/aspiring health pracitioners had made note of what city they’re working in (hint, hint…).

    tess wrote on May 10th, 2011
  20. I’ve never commented before although I’ve been an avid reader of this blog for a long time. I am an RD and am so thrilled to see the comments from other RDs. We need to just keep doing what we’re doing and quietly (or maybe not so quietly depending on your situation) push concepts of paleo/primal when we have the opportunities. I recently taught a class about insulin resistance and introduced some primal concepts (but didn’t call it that!). People seemed to love it and want more of that kind of information. Keep up the good work and good luck to you who are just getting started. You are lucky. I spent too much time mired in the CW to the detriment of my and other people’s health!

    Crystal wrote on May 10th, 2011
  21. I own a fitness studio in New Zealand and we live and breath primal/WAPF here. I think it’s much easier, and also much more accepted, to be alternative in the fitness community. There are some good MDs around here, I personally don’t ever see a dr unless I have a burn or something, which is not generally a common occurrence!

    Samantha wrote on May 10th, 2011
    • What’s the name of the fitness studio and what city? The wifey and I are thinking about moving to New Zealand so I would like to be around others of the same feather.

      sixMidgets wrote on March 23rd, 2012
  22. Fears of legal action are often greatly exaggerated. Does anyone know of an actual lawsuit in which a doctor or other health professional was successfully sued for using Paleo principles in his or her medical practice?

    I’m not saying it could not happen, but medical practices that diverge from the common wisdom do exist in every field, and not all of them are being sued.

    Bookstorecowboy wrote on May 10th, 2011
    • You obviously don’t live in fear of this everyday. While the first Paleo-related lawsuit probably has yet to materialize, a doctor was successfully sued for telling a patient to lose weight and she claims she felt discriminated against. It’s reality for everyone in the medical field.

      Karen P. wrote on May 10th, 2011
      • Wow, seriously?
        So a doctor can’t tell a patient anymore that they’re overweight and need to lose weight?

        I wonder if the judge was fat, too.

        Primal Palate wrote on May 11th, 2011
  23. My husband is an ED physician and unfortunately, our Primal lifestyle has little relevance to his line of work. By the time they get to him with their chronic diseases, the best he can do is manage their symptoms. The ED is just not the place for lifestyle lectures. Although he will speak up if they ask directly, like the diabetic who needed something to drink and got a Dr. Pepper (!). He’s beginning to consider bringing it up for the many, many cases of anxiety he sees.

    This is really an issue for primary care, and down the line, the endocrinologists, cardiologists, oncologists, etc. I will say that my husband knows someone who opened a weight-loss clinic and they had never heard of Paleo/Primal. Ugh. So much progress to make.

    On the other hand, Mark is right, many in the naturopathic realm have taken this up. I know several folks who’ve gotten off gluten and sugar that way. Maybe someday the rest of medicine will catch up.

    Karen P. wrote on May 10th, 2011
  24. Best doc I ever visited was a osteopath in the Navy while I was in the Marines. I had some serious depression going on from a “Dear John” I got from the ex that manifested in weigh issues and drinking. He gave me the most uncomfortable survey of about 100 questions that, at the time, seemed very invasive. He was trying to get to know me as a person before treating. While other specialists were trying to give me drugs (still have the unsubmitted script for Prozac somewhere), he treated me as a person. I always said that I would go to osteopathic medical school one day…when I grew up.

    I live in Korea and visited an international clinic. The Korean doctor reminded me of the Navy doc. However, when it came to food, he gave me the CW rhetoric with an asian slant that included tofu and rice. Since going fully primal about three weeks ago, I feel great and have lost weight. I plan to get some blood work done this summer as part of my yearly check. I would love to find a doc that understands the lifestyle and isn’t brainwashed by CW, USDA, and others.

    Julian wrote on May 10th, 2011
    • THAT is an inspiring read. semper fi.

      sixMidgets wrote on March 23rd, 2012
  25. “Someone was once sued for something” is a poor argument for the idea that it is more likely that you will be sued for giving “Paleo” advice and using “Paleo” principles than if you don’t. Americans are petrified of being sued. I know that. The question is this: Has anyone ever been sued for using Paleo principles?

    Also, the truth is, if you are a professional, you do what is best according to your reading of the facts. If you don’t, you are not a professional, you are just a money-grubbing hack. So, stop using “someone might sue me” as an excuse for making and keeping people sick.

    If you can’t do that, r get into advertising or something equally amoral but at least less pretentious.

    Bookstorecowboy wrote on May 10th, 2011
    • It’s great that you feel that way, but when it’s your livelihood and career on the line, you might feel differently.

      There is something called “The Standard of Care.” A lawsuit is judged worthy based on how far your treatment deviated from The Standard of Care. How far do you think Paleo/Primal principles deviate from The Standard of Care? When there are other doctors willing to be paid by the defense to testify against you and how incompetent you are, how much are you willing to stick your neck out? An argument could be made that Paleo falls outside that standard. And juries have shown over and over that it has less to do with facts and reason than it has to do with who has the most dramatic story.

      What do you do for a living? Could you lose your house for a mistake or even something that goes wrong beyond your control? Your savings? Your kids’ college money? Until then, perhaps you shouldn’t tell others what to do with their jobs.

      Karen P. wrote on May 11th, 2011
  26. I am a chiropractic doctor practicing with a group of chiropractic doctors, medical physicians (pain management, orthopedic surgery, spine neurosurgery, internal medicine and neurology), physical therapists and an acupuncturist. We specialize in the management of acute and chronic pain. I have a special interest in applying Paleolithic Dietary principles in the management of chronic pain because of the anti-inflammatory nature of the diet. As you already know, patients who reduce inflammation with Paleolithic Dietary changes usually report significant improvements in general health.

    A few post here have derided alternative healthcare as unscientific. This may be true often times but very little of conventional medicine is truly Evidence Based Medicine. Witness the Food Pyramid. For those who want to avoid unnatural approaches to health, scientific alternative practitioners do exist. Be a good shopper and you can find one.

    Robb Russell, D.C. wrote on May 10th, 2011
  27. I just got accepted to nursing school and just in my prerequisites I have encountered the CW many times and have just had to hold my tongue.

    As for the comment about not enough meat to go around if everyone went paleo? I actually feel that I don’t eat all that much meat in a day. Probably less than someone who eats the SAD. Just got rid of the grains and sugar. I think there would be plenty of meat if we get rid of the feed lots and just use the old “grass farmer” method. Better for the environment as well.

    Melissa wrote on May 11th, 2011
  28. So pleased to read this article… have never felt better since moving to a primal way of living and the more I learn the more I find myself challenging CW… am passionate about preventative medicine and am suggesting this way of life to all those I see who are willing to take this journey…

    drpurv wrote on May 11th, 2011
  29. I do believe the tide is turning if it hasn’t already turned. The reason is results. A paleo/primal nutrional lifestyle works, period. Friends and professional colleagues of paleo/primal people see the results and many eventually buy in.

    This morning while driving to work a popular morning talk show had a “wellness” expert on. I expected a bunch of BS. Instead I heard about Gary Taubes, the evils of HFCS and carbohydrates and so on. When asked what we should eat his response was protein, vegetables and fruit. Lots of eggs and try for free range. The host asked if this mean’t that he could eat lots of steak and the answer was YES.

    What a breath of fresh air. This “wellness expert” runs a very well known fitness center with many high profile professional athletes.

    Hunt-Fish-Forage wrote on May 11th, 2011
  30. I would love to network with any of you RDs in the NYC area! Good to know all these people are out there. Thanks Mark for writing this article!

    KS wrote on May 11th, 2011
  31. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA:

    Find Dr. Hilda Maldonado. She’s in Westlake.

    An MD metabolic specialist, and functional medicine practitioner, with a semi-Primal nutritionist in her office! She’s expensive, but if you can afford it, I can’t recommend anyone more highly.

    Me wrote on May 11th, 2011
    • Thanks for recommending Dr. Maldonado. I will check her out.

      Kim wrote on May 11th, 2011
  32. If they want litigation it’s high time to litigate conventional wisdom and all of the harm that it does. I am all for personal responsibility but i am sick and tired of bad advice being given the imprimatur of government.

    As far as my own personal situation goes, my MD does not need details of my daily diet. He wanted to medicate my high blood pressure rather than ask me to lose weight, he doesn’t have to know I ditched the meds and brought things under control myself.

    IvyBlue wrote on May 11th, 2011
  33. I fought with doctors for months after my daughter was born, with all those well baby checkups with genuine fools who just wanted to push vaccines and other nonsense. That’s all those checkups are for, I determined. Just to make sure kids get vaccinated. After about 6 months I quit going to receive my new dose of guilt trips.

    As a result of their lack of understanding and refusal to accept the way we are, my daughter didn’t see a doctor even once in 4 1/2 years.

    Finally I went in search of an ND and quickly found an inexpensive naturopathic/acupuncturist educated at Bastyr that is absolutely great for us.

    Peggy The Primal Parent wrote on May 11th, 2011
  34. I was very lucky in my former city to have been regularly seeing a family physician (for some digestive issues – ulcers, etc…) who aligned himself with a paler philosophy before I knew anything about the diet and lifestyle. He really rubbed my vegetarian stepfather the wrong way by giving him his patient handout of dietary recommendations (nix the grains, up the veggies, have the meat). I wish my stepdad would have co sidered his advice before getting pancreatitis.

    Aerialist wrote on May 11th, 2011
  35. My aunt (RN) seemed pretty skeptical of the primal way of life when I was explaining how I was dropping weight and looking healthier, but didn’t say anything.

    I haven’t discussed it with my cousin yet, who is a cardiologist at the same hospital. I’ll be interested to hear what he has to say.

    Lee wrote on May 11th, 2011
  36. There is no money in a Primal consultant.

    There is money in forcing statins onto people. Lipitor rakes in like 330 billion dollars or something stupid like that yearly.

    The body doesn’t intentionally break itself, the things you do to it do. Eat healthy and avoid stupid mistakes — you may not need to see a doctor until your death bed.

    College Caveman (Musician) wrote on May 11th, 2011
  37. My husband and I are very fortunate! My husband went to a new doctor who was 38 years young and thinks outside the box. He is the one who recommended a Primal/ Paleo diet to him to loose weight and for his high cholesterol/high blood pressure. We immediately ordered the books and jumped in with two feet. We’ve never looked back. We both lost weight and feel great! My husband’s cholesterol dropped 50 points and his triglycerides dropped a whopping 175 points! The doctor was so impressed that a patient actually stuck to it and had successful results! Most people just can’t commit permanently if at all and it’s frustrating for the doctor. He said most people just want to be given a pill for everything. Very sad!

    Stefanie wrote on May 11th, 2011
  38. I actually stubmled onto Paleo after being diagnosed with gluten intolerance as well as battling Hashimotos/thyroid disease. Funnily enough – a good place to network with like minded MDs etc are by googling “thyroid good doctor list”….treating thyroid disease is actually somewhat controversial and I’m obviously onboard with docs that advise patients to avoid gluten….Integrated Health Docs I think they are called. Anyway, my current MD def is about lifestyle changes/diet as opposed to purely medicating. Worth a look.

    Apprently Gluten Intolerance and Hashi’s are very much linked

    nuttmegs17 wrote on May 11th, 2011
  39. While only tangentially related, I find hope in today’s comments. I am a PhD Sociologist sometimes working on public health issues. It can be trying in meetings to bite my tongue while epidemiologists and hospital practitioners talk about diabetes, obesity, and so forth.

    I first came to low carb with the Eades around 2000 and was astounded at the implications that the food and health system was actually at the root of many of the problems they purport to help. I thought for certain that science would win out. Especially, as one person after another added their anecdotal successes.

    But alas, it turns out the forces of darkness are stronger than I thought. Now I enjoy my better health, better weight, and bite my tongue as my vegetarian colleagues struggle with health issues. This includes, perhaps not ironically, at least one vegetarian epidemiologist who is over a hundred pounds overweight. Without picking on her – I never wanted to be overweight when I have been – I just can’t imagine how she is processing the evidences of her successes and failures regarding diet and body management. How can her n=1 empirical experiences resonate with her scientist’s mind? Cognitive dissonance? Or in more colloquial terms – How’s that working for you?

    I do also think that it’s important we remain openminded too, so as to avoid the rigid and unempirical closed-mindedness with which we charge the vegans. We must remain willing to challenge our own assumptions in the paleo movement.

    Michael wrote on May 11th, 2011
    • You are right that your credibility as a proponent of public health depends on your own example. Good on you for practicing what you preach. You are regrettably in the minority.

      It is mind-blowing how many physicians are overweight or otherwise obviously unhealthy. Even the surgeon general is obese. The cognitive dissonance is unbelievable. One would have to be blind to take health advice from these people.

      Would you trust your finances to someone who couldn’t get out of bankruptcy? Would you take music lessons from someone who couldn’t play a note?

      Physician, heal thyself.

      Timothy wrote on May 11th, 2011
  40. Well – I am a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner with a private practice and I have been prescribing primal nutrition and lifestyle measures of sex/sun/laughter/move your body etc for the past 8 years. Clients refer via word of mouth and the bulk of my new clients are consistently middle aged pre or post menopausal women who have put on weight, developed anxiety, poor sleep maintainence and low energy. To them – the primal lifestyle is miraculous. Their PCPs do voice dissent sometimes (well, often) but generally quiet down when triglyceride levels plummet, HgB A1C levels plummet and mood and energy issues resolve. It does seem like nearly every day I have to dissuade a woman with a total chl read of 170-200 not to accept the statin her PCP prescribed…But this population is highly motivated and most of them even finish the homework I assign them of reading Taubes GCBC – and I know that is asking a lot. I tell them not to simply take my word, but to read and become owners of this health information so that they can firmly advocate for themselves (such as when that statin is pushed their way).
    And I have the greatest practice, filled with people willing to work hard for their health who want to know why they were never told any of this before…

    Lisa wrote on May 11th, 2011

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