On Friday I had the indescribable joy of chatting to Nora Gedgaudas on Skype. Nora wrote the paleo living bible Primal Body, Primal Mind and is a gem of a woman.
In a nutshell, the premise of her thinking is this:
* our genealogy hasn’t changed since Paleolithic times when we ate fat, protein and low-starch veggies.
* our diet has changed to a high carb/sugar/starch diet, with the introduction of the agricultural period 10,000 years ago, which our bodies have not been able to adjust to…which makes us sick and tired.
We need to eat MORE FAT and ELIMINATE CARBS for optimal health and longevity.
Perhaps the most home-hitting point she makes is this:
Fat doesn’t make us fat, fat eaten with carbs does
We aren’t what we eat, we’re how we metabolise what we eat
If you’re interested in all this, her book is seriously the go-to bible. I went crazy with my highlighter and post-it reading it last week. And for auto-immune/hashimoto sufferers…it almost caters directly to our conditions (Nora’s family all have hashimotos).
The great news is: Nora’s also out here in Australia in November speaking at universities in Sydney, Armidale and the Gold Coast. I’ll be at the Goldie to see her speak. It will be rad.
But in the meantime…our chat:
Some of you asked some questions via twitter on key points of the paleo diet. I thought I’d spell things out a little, because they’re themes that I’ve touched on a lot on this blog. My sugar quitting philosophy is similar, ditto my exercise approach.
But aren’t grains needed by our bodies?
It would appear not. They contain no essential nutrients we can’t get from elsewhere in more effective ways. They’ve traditionally been eaten when fat and protein haven’t been around (and, thus, signal to the body there’s a famine going on). Since we have the option not to eat them, why would we? Especially given the below…
* they contain antinutrients that interfere with mineral absorption, gluten being one such. Grains are defenceless little things so they contain poisons to ward off predators. Some animals, like birds, have adjusted to these poisons. Us? Nope.
* gluten-containging grains take things even further, causing bowel damage and then auto immune diseases and even cancer. I’ll discuss this more in another post.
* carbs cause our metabolism to become sugar burners instead of fat burners…and stuff up our metabolism in all kinds of ways…which makes us fat and sick.
What about quinoa…it’s a seed, right?
I’ve been a quinoa advocate in the past…but I’ve since learned it has similar properties to grains, including chemical defense systems that irritate the gut – soap-like molecules called saponins. Gluten attaches to a carrier molecule in the intestines, saponins punch holes in the membranes of the microvilli cells.
What about legumes?
Well, they too contain poisons in their outer layers. I’ve written about this before – soaking and sprouting legumes does help. Nora’s take is that legumes are mostly starch and only a little protein, so why bother? Me, I like legumes (in small quantities), so will stick with them for now.
Do you have to cut all carbs?
I ask Nora this…her answer is…well, it’s best to. Our bodies will always metabolise carbs (sugars and starches) first (because it’s toxic), so whenever you eat carbs you remain a sugar burner not a fat burner.
I’m about to try the approach and will report back on the process. It’s said to take 3-6 weeks for the conversion to kick in and there are supplements I’ll take to deal with cravings. I’ll share my tips with you shortly. In the meantime be sure to check out Nora when she’s here in Australia.
Have you done the paleo switch? Any tips? Feedback?