Tag Archives: The Paleo Diet

While we love light and refreshing salads during Spring and Summer months, there’s no reason to stop enjoying the unlimited combinations of locally grown seasonal foods, combined with crisp greens still available from the Fall harvest.  This tasty combination is packed with nutrients to sustain your healthy energy throughout the cooler season.


  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 3 parsnips, sliced
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 large red pepper, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. sun-dried tomato dressing (recipe below)
  • 10 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp. almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup additional sun-dried tomato dressing (recipe below)


Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing


  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1 cup water
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend or process until the dressing is well emulsified.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine butternut squash, parsnips, onion, red pepper and the garlic in a large bowl. Add 2 tbsp.  sun-dried tomato dressing and toss to combine. Spread the coated vegetables evenly over a baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and tender. Remove from oven and toss with spinach, almonds, and 1/3 cup dressing.  Serve warm or cold.

Serves 4.

The paleolithic diet is not just a diet, it’s a lifestyle of health and wellness. Wellness in body, mind, and spirit begins in the mind – the wellspring of all the energy coursing through us that provides the connection between body and spirit. We know that our body needs healthy fuel, but so does our mind. All of our daily input – everything we read, everything we look at, and everything we think – has an impact on our emotions, our motivations, our desires. Healthy fuel for our mind is positive, transformative, and rejuvenating – it makes us feel good about ourselves and others. It motivates us to take care of ourselves and find the balance we need to live the life our spirit craves. Three pillars of wellness are meditation, diet, and fitness.


Why meditate? It improves focus. Meditation teaches us how to pay attention when our mind wanders. It provides cognitive and health benefits such as improved attention, better memory, stress relief, increased creativity and even compassion; meditation literally contributes to brain health. In this age of the social media-saturated eight-second attention span, meditation rewires our brain to improve our attention. Neuroscience studies in 2012 demonstrated that people who meditated had greatly increased folding of their cerebral cortex, potentially making their brains better at decision making and information processing. The practice of mindfulness teaches us to live in the moment; it teaches us gratitude, contentment, and kindness. Spirituality and meditation like that practiced in yoga leave us more compassionate, kind, self-reflective, and self-aware [1,3].


The paleolithic diet promotes healthy digestion, a healthy gut microbiota, and a stronger immune system by eliminating toxins and foods that contribute to inflammation and chronic disease, and by eating foods that we are genetically equipped to digest.

Proteins and Carbohydrates. Balancing carbohydrates with protein in portions appropriate to level of activity provides us maximum sustenance and energy. Although legumes and grains are off the Paleo Diet@, there are plenty of starchy vegetables to contribute carbohydrates, such as winter squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, parsnips etc. Protein should be grass-fed lean meats or fish.

Fats. Humans require good fats for healthy cell membranes, which is where all our chemical reactions take place – across membranes. While saturated fats and trans fats – found in fried foods, margarine, lard, fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb, for example, – are detrimental, monounsaturated fats are good sources of fat found in nuts, avocados, fish, and vegetable oils. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats found in fish are especially good for our hearts [2].

Vitamins and Minerals. Vegetables are the best source for vitamins, minerals, and fiber while citrus fruit is great not just for vitamin C but contributes to our pH balancing act – a balanced pH in our cells keeps opportunistic yeast and bacteria at bay and strengthens our immune system. Bananas and melons are high in potassium and magnesium which contribute to muscle and nerve function, blood pressure control, bone development and more, and they’re also high in lots of other vitamins and minerals. Berries are rich in antioxidants. As in all things, though, moderation is key. Fruit has a high fructose content and has a high glycemic index, meaning we need to budget our consumption.


A fitness regime completes our wellness triad. Not only does activity build muscle which supports our skeleton and prevents or reduces chronic pain, physical activity rewards us with serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine – it makes our minds and bodies feel good. We don’t have to get extreme to get fit – unless we want to! We can join a yoga class and make some new friends; yoga is excellent for gentle rehabilitation of disability, or for increased flexibility, mobility, stress relief, and physical fitness. It has been shown to lower cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease [1]. We just need to move our bodies – dancing, walking, bike-riding, swimming, cross-fit – any level of physical activity that suits our lifestyle; physical activity aids in blood and lymph circulation throughout the body, which in turn oxygenate our cells and remove toxins.

The Paleo Diet is more than just a diet, it’s a formidable and holistic lifestyle.


  1. https://chopra.com/articles/the-7-spiritual-laws-of-yoga
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease/good-fats-vs-bad-fats
  3. https://io9.gizmodo.com/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-and-makes-you-feel-b-470030863



        Unless you are involved in the culinary arts or the meat industry, you probably haven’t given much thought to the term, “Saint Louis Style Pork Ribs”.   Is this dish some kind of specially spiced, spare rib recipe from St. Louis, MO?  Did it originate in a colorful Saint Louis, 20th century restaurant, or maybe it was first served at a St. Louis Cardinal baseball game in the 1930s?   All three hypotheses seem to be plausible (1).

        Saint Louis Style Pork Ribs first and foremost represent a specific butchery cut of pork ribs recognized by the USDA (1).  Figures 1 and 2 below demonstrate exactly how “St. Louis Style Pork Ribs” are butchered from hogs.

Figures 1 and 2.   Butchery location of Saint Louis Style Pork Spare Ribs.


Because of their anatomical location slightly above pork bellies (the pork cut used for bacon manufacture), St. Louis Style Pork Spareribs represent the highest-fat, (combined muscle, bone and fat) cut in the entire pig.  O.K. what is the big deal about Saint Louis Style Pork Spareribs?

As many of our readers are aware, the official USDA position to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) is to eat less, not more saturated fat from fatty meats such as Saint Louis Pork Spareribs.  But, is there some nutritional factor present in unadulterated, fatty pork meat, such as found in Saint Louis Style Pork Spareribs that may not only prevent CVD, but may also prevent osteoporosis and be therapeutic for a wide variety of diseases which afflict the western world?


Dietary Menaquinones (Vitamin K2)

Saint Louis Style Pork Ribs have recently (2016) been discovered to be one of the richest dietary sources of menaquinones (2), also collectively known as vitamin K2.  Ingestion of menaquinones may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (3-10), osteoporosis (11-16), multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases (17-23) and cancer (24).  The optimal intake of the 10 dietary menaquinones (MK-4, MK-5, MK-6, MK-7, MK-8, MK-9, MK-10, MK-11, MK-12 and MK-13) is unknown (2, 25-27). Nevertheless, it is suspected that our current western diet is low or deficient in total menaquinones (MK-4 to MK-13) [2, 25-27].

If you relish fatty cuts of pork (back ribs, spare ribs and Saint Louis Style ribs), you are in luck, as the fattier the pork cuts, the more menaquinones they contain (2), which is a good thing for your bones (11-16), your heart (3-10) your immune system (17-23), and cancer prevention (24).  Table 1 demonstrates the concentrations of the 10 menaquinones (MK-4 to MK-13) in both processed pork products (Kielbasa, Pork sausage and Canadian bacon) and in fresh cuts of pork meat.

Table 1.  The menaquinone content (μg/100 g) of processed and fresh pork meats (2), ND = not detected.

Processed pork meats showed a strong correlation (r = 0.94) between total fat content of the various cuts and vitamin K content.  This robust relationship is not surprising as vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, and it’s hydrophobic (water avoiding) nature (30) explains why it is found in lower concentrations in leaner cuts of pork, which contain more water and less fat.  Accordingly, if you want to increase your dietary intake of menaquinones, you should eat fattier cuts of pork.

How about processed pork?  Should you consider eating huge quantities of Kielbasa, Pork sausage links and patties and Canadian bacon to obtain your menaquinones?  Probably not a good idea because all processed meats are highly salted. Table 2 below demonstrates the sodium (Na+) and potassium (K+) contents of the processed pork meats from study (2) and contrasts them to the fresh pork meats also tested in this study (2).

Despite being concentrated sources of menaquinones (Table 1), processed pork meat is also a concentrated source of Na+ with a 100 g serving averaging 1152 mg of Na+ and also exhibiting an unhealthy K+/Na+ ratio of 0.31.  For adults the daily recommended intake of Na+ is 2,300 mg and for hypertensives, 1,500 mg or less (28).  The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends a K+/Na+ ratio of 2.04, whereas contemporary Paleo diets maintain K+/Na+ ratios between 5.0 to 10.0 or higher (28, 29).  Hence, for our stone age ancestors, dietary K+/Na+ ratios below 1.0 (as present in processed pork meat) would have been impossible (28, 29).

In contrast, fresh cuts of fatty pork are not only rich sources of dietary menaquinones but also maintain healthful low Na+ concentrations together with high K+ concentrations (Table 2). Hence, fresh (unadulterated) pork, particularly fatty cuts represent excellent food choices to maintain high intakes of menaquinones while simultaneously keeping your Na+ intake low and K+ high.

Table 2.  The sodium (Na+) and potassium (K+) contents of processed and fresh pork meats, along with their (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) contents.

The Dietary Origin of Menaquinones

Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone is the most abundant form of vitamin K in our diet and is found in highest concentrations in leafy, green vegetables.  Our bodies have the capacity to convert K1 into menaquinones, but only into MK-4 (30). All other menaquinones (MK-5 to MK-13) are synthesized by bacteria and enter the human food chain either through dietary sources (particularly fermented foods) or from resident bacteria in our guts (25, 26, 30).

Recently (2018-17), accurate menaquinone measurements have been reported for fermented dairy products, particularly cheeses (31, 32).  Table 3 below shows the levels of menaquinones (MKs) in a variety of cheeses (31). As you can see from this table, a number of cheeses represent highly concentrated food sources of menaquinones, consumption of which would normally be a good thing from a nutritional perspective, as dietary menaquinones may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (3-10), osteoporosis (11-16), multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases (17-23) and cancer (24).

Unfortunately, as was the case with processed pork meats (Table 2), cheeses are almost universally high in salt, as can be seen from Table 4 below.  All cheeses shown maintain K+/Na+ ratios considerably below 1.00 which represent impossible values from an evolutionary perspective (28, 29).

In addition to the impossible evolutionary K+/Na+ dietary ratios present in cheeses; cheeses also maintain impossible Ca2+/Mg2+ ratios which could have never been consumed by ancestral humans before the advent of animal husbandry and dairy consumption (29, 33).   Recommended Ca2+/Mg2+ ratios are about 2.00 (34), meaning that you should ingest about twice the amount of calcium relative to magnesium you obtain from your diet.  Contrast this recommendation to the average Ca2+/Mg2+ ratio of 24.04 found in cheeses (Table 4) – meaning that cheeses contain ten times more calcium than magnesium, compared to recommended Ca2+/Mg2+ ratios (34).

Table 3. The menaquinone content (μg/100 g) of various cheeses (31), NM = not measured.

Table 4.   The sodium (Na+) and potassium (K+) content of various cheeses, along with their (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) content.

O.K. what are the health consequences of consuming enormous amounts of calcium relative to magnesium, even if you obtain the health promoting dietary menaquinones found in fermented cheeses?  And what are the adverse health consequences of consuming foods such as cheeses and processed meats loaded with salt and containing K+/Na+ ratios of less than 1.00?

High calcium intakes relative to low magnesium intakes, which frequently occur with high dairy consumption, are linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (34-41) and osteoporosis (42-47).  High salt diets increase your risk for hypertension, stroke, cardiovascular disease (28), autoimmune disease (48-57), gastric ulcers (58-63), all cancers (64-83), and ocular cataracts (84-92).

Let’s now take a step backwards and show you the evolutionary basis for this seeming nutritional conundrum which requires us to obtain sufficient dietary menaquinones from high fat foods but advises us against consuming high fat salt laden cheeses and processed meats.

The Evolutionary Basis for Menaquinones in Our Diet

John Speth, Ph.D., a world renown anthropologist/archaeologist, has been my friend and scientific colleague for almost two decades.  He recently published a paper which provides the nutrition and anthropology communities with a powerful insight into the evolutionary basis for menaquinones in the human diet (93).  

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stated, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”  Indeed, in his paper (93) John has eloquently pointed out an obvious nutritional fact:  Humans have been regularly consuming putrid, rotting and fermented foods since the Middle Paleolithic era and likely earlier. This obvious fact had been apparently unknown to most anthropologists and nutritional scientists, including myself, until the publication of Dr. Speth’s paper in 2017.

In nature, the fermentation of fish, meat, fruits and vegetables is haphazardly carried out by various bacterial species, particularly by lactic acid producing bacteria (LAB) associated with modern food production including the following 11 bacterial genera: Carnobacterium, Enterococcus, Lactococcus, Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc, Oenococcus, Pediococcus, Streptococcus, Tetragenococcus, Vagococcus and Weisella (94-96).  Many species within the LAB genera including Lactococcus lactis (sub species. Cremoris) and Leuconostoc lactis synthesize high amounts of long chain menaquinones (MK-8 to MK-10) (97).  Other bacterial species which ferment Emmental and Jarlsberg cheese such as Propionibacterium freudenreichii produce high amounts of MK-9 (4H) (98).  The bacteria (Bacillus subtilis) which ferments soybeans to make the Japanese food, natto produce unusually high concentrations of MK-7 (25).

All dietary menaquinones derived from the bacterial fermentation of various human foods, ultimately enrich our diet with long chain (MK-7 to MK-13) menaquinones, and have likely done so for millions of years (93).  Optimal dietary menaquinones intake has almost certainly been intimately linked to the consumption of fermented food since our genus, Homo’s, very beginnings more than 2 million years ago.  Accordingly, these bacterially derived menaquinones have played an important evolutionary role in determining contemporary human nutritional requirements.

Summary and Practical Implications

Fatty pork cuts such as Saint Louis Style Pork Ribs represent an excellent dietary choice for maximizing your intake of long chain (MK-7 to MK-13) menaquinones intake without increasing your salt intake or compromising your nutritional K+/Na+ ratio.  Consumption of long chain dietary menaquinones reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) (3-10), osteoporosis (11-16), multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases (17-23) and cancer (24).

In contrast, three other major sources of dietary menaquinones in the western diet (cheese, processed pork meats, fermented soy foods (soy sauce, miso, natto) contain excessive salt and calcium which yield evolutionarily impossible dietary K+/Na+ and Ca2+/Mg2+ ratios that increase the risk for CVD (34-41), osteoporosis (42-47), autoimmune disease (48-57), gastric ulcer (58-63) all cause cancer (64-83), ocular cataract (84-92).

The evolutionary basis for menaquinones in human nutrition comes not from recently introduced high salt processed meats, cheeses or soy products (all of which may be high in menaquinones), but rather from the evolutionary selective pressures derived from our species consumption of unadulterated bacterially fermented foods containing long chain menaquinones for millions of years.

Looking to the Future

Although all forms of vitamin K (K1, K2 and vitamin K precursors [menadione]) have therapeutic effects, the longer chain vitamin K2 (particularly MK-7 to MK-13) appear to be more effective in ameliorating chronic disease (99, 100) than vitamin K1 (phylloquinone).

An alternative dietary strategy to maximize your intake of long chain dietary menaquinones exists without increasing salt or calcium and unbalancing your K+/Na+ or Ca2+/Mg2+ dietary ratios.  This strategy has been unknowingly suggested to extend human lifespan and has shown to increase the lifespan of insects.

Stay Tuned – I will reveal this evidence in the next Paleo Blog.



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Walking around the supermarket, it does not take long to notice that there is a “low fat” or “fat-free” alternative near almost every available option. When you are starting a new diet, it may be tempting to purchase these items. After all, you are trying to lose fat, so it would make sense to eat less of it, right?

While that reasoning may seem to make sense, it is actually unsupported by the evidence. There is scientific evidence that eating a high-fat diet can contribute to weight loss, as seen by researchers at Harvard. Additional studies have been conducted in recent years that add even more fuel to the fat-burning fire. So, where did all the hatred of fat come from?

The “Fat Is Bad” Myth

Way back in the 1970s, America was facing a wake-up call. Members of Congress came together to rally against high-fat diets, largely due to the fact that their colleagues were prematurely dying of heart attacks. The science of that day and age pointed to saturated fats as a primary cause of heart disease. These facts were backed up by Nathan Pritikin, a health whiz who advocated that heart disease could be reversed, as long as people were willing to change their lifestyles.

However, back then we did not have the thorough understanding of biological processes that we do today. Many people heard that fat was bad and subsequently attempted to remove it from their diets entirely. One of the goals Congress set out was for people to eat more carbs. What they intended was for people to eat complex carbs like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. However, the reality was starkly different.

The market responded to these calls to reduce fat by creating new lines of fat-free or low-fat products. Fat provides a lot of flavor in the foods we eat. When you remove fats, you have to replace it with something else, and that replacement came in the form of sugar. Many believe that this fat-reducing phase of the American diet largely contributed to rising levels of obesity and diabetes. It turns out that removing fat from your diet can cause weight gain, doesn’t significantly reduce your chances of heart disease, and will not help you lose weight.  

Why Fat Is Good for Your Body

The truth is, there are several kinds of fat: trans fats, saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Trans fats are bad for your body, and along with saturated fats were the ones that Congress really meant for us to reduce. Foods that contain trans fats increase harmful blood cholesterol levels (LDLs) while decreasing the good blood cholesterols (HDLs). Today, we realize there is no safe level of consumption of trans fats — for every 2% of your diet that is made up of this type of fat, your chances of heart disease increase by 23%.

Saturated fats are another type of fat that should be eliminated. Experts recommend that less than 10% of your daily calories come from saturated fat sources. In large doses, saturated fats can increase LDLs. However, there is no conclusive evidence at this time suggesting that saturated fats cause heart disease.

However, there are studies that show replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can reduce your risk of heart disease. The unsaturated fats are the “good for you” guys of the fat world. These fats are liquid at room temperature, unlike their counterparts. These fats raise triglyceride levels while lowering LDL levels. Your body uses these fats as a source of fuel, so they are important to incorporate into your diet.

Incorporating Healthy Fats Into Your Diet

Healthy fats can help you lose weight, among other important health benefits. Instead of avoiding all fats, you should focus on how you can incorporate healthy fats from natural sources into your diet. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can come from natural sources.

Oils and nuts are generally good sources of monounsaturated fats. Healthy oils like olive oil are good sources of monounsaturated fats as well as nuts and avocados. As an added benefit, incorporating healthy oils into your diet will help you feel full and satisfied at the end of a meal. As a result, you eat less and weight begins to fall off.

Good sources of polyunsaturated fats include the heart healthy omega-3 and omega-6 oils found in seafood, nuts, and some oils. It’s important to maintain a healthy balance of omega-3 to omega-6. These fats are essential to our bodies, yet we cannot make them. We need them in order to function, to create cell membranes, to move our muscles, and to combat inflammation.

The Paleo diet is a natural diet that incorporates healthy fats. This diet focuses on natural, unprocessed foods that promote overall wellness. Research has shown that low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets like the Paleo diet can speed up weight loss, reduce chronic inflammation, and ultimately lead to you feeling better in general. For more information about the Paleo diet and how it could help you, visit us today. Be sure to check out our Paleo recipes for easy ways to incorporate healthy fats into your diet!


Paleo dieters often wonder when the rest of the world will catch up.

Most of all, they wonder when mainstream nutritional science will finally validate what they experience every day: safe and natural weight loss; freedom from chronic illness; vibrant energy all day long.

But mainstream nutritional researchers remain divided on basic diet and health issues and many factors inhibit progress—especially toward understanding non-conventional approaches like Paleo.

Freighted with years of conventional wisdom, torn by conflicting agendas, and (like scientists in all disciplines) too frequently impervious to new ideas, these savants often run in place. Covering new ground sometimes only moves a few inches a year.

A new study by Professor Nita G. Forouhi and colleagues provides some understanding of the lack of consensus when it comes to diabetes, and what drives it.

The study itself is an overview or meta-analysis of several current dietary therapies for type 2 diabetes (T2D).[1]

The authors discuss several interventions, including pros and cons from different camps within the nutritional field. Forouhi is not afraid to show both sides of each debate, especially regarding low-carbohydrate diets.

The analysis acknowledges that dietary interventions can mitigate or even reverse T2D but admits up front that these interventions are both “controversial and difficult.”  

Paleo readers will quickly note how conventional Western dietary wisdom underlies much of the controversy.

Some highlights:


Questions about data and dietary guidelines

Intriguingly, the study notes that basic scientific nutritional data is subject to manipulation:  

Moreover, lack of transparency in the development of guidelines and bias in the primary nutritional studies can undermine the development of reliable dietary guidelines; recommendations for their improvement must be heeded.

The study continues further down …more investment is needed in good quality research with a greater focus on overcoming the limitations of existing research.”

This frank admission is important in the context of what follows—including the discussions of unconventional therapies like low-carb and ultra-low calorie diets.

And bear in mind that entrenched conventional ideas do bias the analysis throughout including the diet-heart hypothesis (bias against saturated fat), and the traditional low-fat-high fiber agenda including a strong bias in favor of whole grains.


Unexpected disagreement on foods

Participants agree that patients should avoid processed meats, sodium, trans fats, refined grains and sugars, as well as sugary drinks.

Surprisingly, fruits and vegetables are dismissed by some as desirable but too expensive for low- to middle- income populations. Other researchers recommend them, but only in the context of weight loss.  

Diets that rely on vegetables for fiber (instead of whole grains) are discarded as “difficult without further discussion.

As an aside, the study stops short of endorsing unprocessed red meat (and even fish) claiming more research is needed.


The low carbohydrate conundrum

Low carbohydrate diets are discussed extensively, but not all researchers endorse them—even though the study admits that they work.

Macronutrient ratios (fat to carbohydrates to protein) are acknowledged as important, but no consensus exists on therapeutic ratios. The American Heart Association is cited as insisting that no population-wide recommendations can be made and that all advice should be individualized.

The research cited by Forouhi shows no real agreement on what constitutes low-carb, or what type of carbs are best. Reducing grains and legumes appears broadly acceptable but different factions disagree on fruit consumption.  Refined carbs are discouraged, but most researchers insist on including whole grains.

Carbohydrate percentages in the analysis vary from ketogenic levels to 40% of calories, or more.

Some researchers think low-carb diets arent sustainable (or desirable) because they think people will eat too much protein, or too much saturated fat.  

Others claim that low-carb diets have no affect at all on diabetesdirectly contradicting the studys premise that such diets are recognized as therapeutic.

The study concludes that low-carb is controversial, but candidly admits it deserves further study.


Weight loss

The study emphasizes weight loss as therapeutic, endorsing it as a cornerstone of diabetes treatment.

The study emphasizes the success that bariatric surgery patients have with T2D due to caloric reduction and the resulting normalization of glucose levels. It explores ultra-low calorie diets that mimic this sudden, dramatic drop in total calories.

However, these diets are acknowledged as hard to sustain over time, and often include heavily processed, high sugar, liquid meal-replacements. The study notes and accepts the high sugar component as a tradeoff for the overall reduction in calories.

Note: The drug industry has also taken note of this bariatric surgery effect and is developing a new pill that coats the intestines to prevent caloric uptake. The goal is to mimic the surgerys blood glucose results for T2D patients.


Looking beyond weight loss  

Something the Forouhi seems to miss is that while sudden weight loss improves blood glucose markers, this may not be the whole story. Focusing on weight loss alone ignores the central issue that whole grains affect blood glucose levels the same way refined grains do. [2]

Even if a whole grain-based diet promotes overall weight loss, with all its acknowledged positive effects, the grains themselves will still promote insulin resistance, intestinal permeability, overall systemic inflammationand diabetes.

Most diabetics are unlikely to choose drastic surgery, with its likelihood of complications, or highly processed, unsatisfying sugar-based liquid diets. Instead, they should consider an inexpensive, low-impact, health-promoting low-carb diet like Paleo.


Paleo: the original low-carb, weight loss diet  

Following a sustainable, satiating Paleo Diet is easy (compared to surgery) and addresses the study’s major concerns:

  • High fiber: anyone on the Paleo Diet for over 30 days knows that vegetables provide MORE fiber than any type of grains.
  • Lower calories:  well-planned Paleo Diets (approximately 2/3 vegetables by volume) provide satiety from protein and healthy fats (like coconut, avocado, and olive oils) without exceeding sensible caloric guidelines. (Anyone can overeat on any diet, but Paleo makes this far less likely.)
  • Low carbohydrates: Paleo carb calories come from healthy, low-glycemic sources like sweet potatoes, squash, and non-starchy colorful vegetables.

Properly followed, Paleo is by definition a sustainable, low carb, high-fiber diet. Exactly what Forouhi’s analysis recommends and it has been demonstrated as therapeutic for Type 2 Diabetes many times [3].



  1. Dietary and nutritional approaches for prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, 6/13/2018, published in The BMJ by professors Nita G. Forouhi, Anoop Misra, Viswanathan Mohan, Roy Taylor, and director William Yancy, retrieved here
  2. The Paleo Diet, Revised, by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, copyright 2002, 2011, published by John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ; electronic edition, page 48
  3. The Paleolithic Diet is the best bet for diabetes and other diseases by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, published in The Insider, Vol. 5, Issue 12, retrieved here


Both the keto diet and the paleo diet are all the rage right now, with many people choosing one or the other in an effort to change their eating habits, get healthier, and be better able to enjoy their lives. For many people, however, it can be difficult or even confusing to understand the differences between the two and how to manipulate their eating habits in order to achieve their goals. If you’re thinking about a drastic lifestyle change, consider how going paleo compares to going keto–and how those dietary changes can impact your life.

The Similarities

Both the keto diet and the Paleo Diet@ focus on reducing carbohydrate consumption. While the paleo diet aims at eating primarily the foods that would have been found in an earlier, caveman-era period of the human diet, the keto diet restricts carbs in an effort to send the body into ketosis, a state in which the body burns ketones for fuel. Ketones are derived from our fat stores. The carb restriction in both diets often leads to quick weight loss, especially early after making a dietary change. This carb restriction, however, often causes Keto and Paleo to be lumped into the same category–which can in turn be highly confusing for dieters. Both diets also restrict sugar and legumes and encourage dieters to consume diets high in animal protein and healthy fats.

The Differences

In order to choose the diet that’s right for you, it’s important to understand the key differences between keto and paleo.

Difference #1: Keto Relies Heavily on Macronutrient Balance

The keto diet works by keeping your body in that state of ketosis: the state at which, instead of burning carbohydrates for energy, the body swaps over and begins burning stored fat, instead. In order to maintain ketosis, it’s necessary to eat a diet high in healthy fats, moderate in protein, and extremely low in carbohydrates. The Paleo Diet, on the other hand, allows you to balance your macronutrients according to your personal needs.

Difference #2: The Paleo Diet Focuses on Removing Foods that are Hard to Digest

One of the key attributes of the paleo diet is its restriction of items like processed foods, dairy, and sugar, all of which can be difficult for the body to digest. Swapping to a paleo-based diet can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and lead to increased gut health. The keto diet, on the other hand, allows–and in some cases even encourages–full-fat dairy consumption.

Difference #3: The Paleo Diet Encourages Whole, Healthy Foods

The focus of the paleo diet is on eating whole, healthy foods that are good for your body and will give you the fuel you need to accomplish your daily tasks. The keto diet, on the other hand, primarily focuses on keeping your body in ketosis.

Difference #4: The Keto Diet is Unforgiving

Everyone ends up having a cheat day or a slip-up every now and then. That barbecue sauce turned out to have sugar in it that you weren’t anticipating; you didn’t know your soup had barley; you ended up eating a slice of birthday cake that wasn’t appropriate for your diet. On the keto diet, that means you’ll instantly fall out of ketosis and start over on your dietary approach. The paleo diet, on the other hand, doesn’t rely on a state that takes days or even weeks to achieve in order to meet your goal.

Which One is Right for You?

To learn more about the ketogenic diet and why we feel it is not a healthy diet for the long term, check out this thorough article by Dr. Loren Cordain.

For most people, the Paleo Diet is a great choice for improving overall health and sticking with a health-centered diet that will help reduce inflammation and make weight loss easier. The paleo diet doesn’t require regular counting and calculations; instead, it sets you up for success by providing you with a list of the foods that you should be avoiding and a list of the foods that can help you meet your dietary goals. The paleo diet also focuses heavily on removing highly processed foods that are difficult to digest, while many people who adhere to a keto diet choose to dodge some of the restrictions by consuming artificial sweeteners and other unhealthy dietary additions that can actually make it harder to lose weight.

The keto diet was originally intended to help manage a range of medical conditions, including epilepsy. The high-percentage weight loss is a side effect that many people enjoy, but it wasn’t its original intent. The paleo diet, on the other hand, takes people back to the diet that they were originally intended to eat, and brings a number of health benefits with it. By understanding the paleo diet more fully, you’ll discover that it can be a highly effective way to meet your dietary goals.  Most importantly, it is the diet you were intended to eat for a lifetime of optimum health.


New Paleo dieters face heavy social and cultural resistance.

Besides all the usual challenges, like giving up fast food, processed food, grains, legumes, dairy, sugars, seed oils and all the rest, they have to overcome a lifetime of media, academic, and government conditioning.

This acculturation affects friends, family and acquaintances as well as the dieter. Input from this social sphere generally resists the perceived “drastic” steps Paleo dieters must take—even in the face of dramatic health and body composition improvements.

Worse yet is the inconsistent reception new dieters get from the medical profession. Many physicians remain nonplussed and are often under-educated or even hostile to Paleo and other diets that avoid refined carbohydrates, industrialized grain- and seed oil-based foods.

Most Paleo dieters have grown up hanging on their doctor’s every word and lack of firm physician support can quickly undermine their resolve.

Dietitians often abet this confusion, as most still cling to the conventional “food pyramid” paradigm (low fat, high fiber, heavy on refined carbs.)

Dietitians may also be the first to suggest that many of the new dieter’s behaviors might indicate an eating disorder called orthorexia nervosa.


Orthorexia Nervosa: Making yourself sick pursuing health?

Dr. Steven Bratman coined the phrase “orthorexia nervosa” in 1996, when he published the book Health Food Junkies. [1]

He used the term, casually at first, to describe obsessive behaviors related to “healthy eating” or “pure foods.” Dietitians and mental health professionals gradually adopted it as a diagnostic descriptive term.

Public awareness grew also, mostly on the Internet.

Today, orthorexia–though never acknowledged by the medical profession as a formal diagnosis–is now prominently featured on the National Eating Disorders Association website. [2]

The NEDA discusses orthorexia with the same gravity as bulimia, anorexia, pica and other “accepted” obsessive or compulsive eating disorders.

The condition can be fatal. On his website, Dr. Bratman describes an instance of orthorexia-induced starvation, leading to heart failure. [3]

Grave health problems should be taken seriously–but as orthorexia surfaced on social media and the Web in the early 2000’s, many expressed doubts or even hostility both toward the concept and Dr. Bratman himself.


What, exactly, is orthorexia?

Dr. Bratman calls it “an unhealthy obsession with healthy food” and considers it similar to anorexia.

The NEDA website [2] gives these “warning signs and symptoms:”

  • Compulsive checking of ingredient lists and nutritional labels
  • An increase in concern about the health of ingredients
  • Cutting out an increasing number of food groups (all sugar, all carbs, all dairy, all meat, all animal products)
  • An inability to eat anything but a narrow group of foods that are deemed ‘healthy’ or ‘pure’
  • Unusual interest in the health of what others are eating
  • Spending hours per day thinking about what food might be served at upcoming events
  • Showing high levels of distress when ‘safe’ or ‘healthy’ foods aren’t available
  • Obsessive following of food and ‘healthy lifestyle’ blogs on Twitter and Instagram
  • Body image concerns may or may not be present

Orthorexics seek “purity,” not necessarily weight loss–though they may effectively starve themselves thin (like anorexics) by restricting supposedly impure or unhealthy foods.

Adverse health impacts range from social (withdrawal, estrangement, superiority complex, unbalanced or extreme food-related behaviors) to major medical: malnutrition, starvation, neurosis and death. [4]


Controversy over signs and symptoms

Taken at face value, the inclusion of ingredient-checking, sincere concern over ingredients, cutting out certain food groups, keen food- or health-blog interest, and distress over lack of healthy food choices seems provocative—possibly even targeted at dieters who resist conventional paradigms.

Large, successful populations of these dieters, including thousands of Paleo adherents, routinely implement these behaviors. The perceived demonization of these widely accepted practices has generated pushback.

Many see this “diagnosis” as suspiciously aligned with corporate and government interests.

Dr. Bratman’s website includes a “hatemail” page, showing accusations of collusion with government, Big Pharma, and other corporate interests. [5] (Dr. Bratman reports that he has made very little money from his original book, and has no financial relationship with any of the above-named entities.) [5]

He also clarifies that healthy dieting, itself, is not obsessive behavior.  


The unfortunate power of medical language

Nevertheless, the new dieter or casual reader can easily be alarmed when told they are showing symptoms of an eating disorder. Articles like Orthorexia: do you have an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating? by Emily Fonnesbeck  surface periodically, reminding the public of “the dangers of eating clean.” [2]  

Readers outside the medical profession may also be confused when dietitians and psychologists express this apparent concern, but also mention that “orthorexia is not an official diagnosis.”

(The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also called “the DSM” or “DSM-5,” does NOT include orthorexia as a separate, stand-alone eating disorder. Literally, providers can’t code bills for treating orthorexia yet.) [7]

None dispute that “orthorexic” patients, who pathologically obsess over “healthy” diet and food behaviors, really exist. For now, most providers classify and treat these genuinely ill persons similarly to anorexic or OCD patients.

However, careless (or carefully selective?) use of the NEDA symptoms list and medical terminology should still be viewed with suspicion. All too often, hasty or undiscerning readers will assume they are ill—when in fact they are not.

Stampeding gullible or tentative dieters using this language can only serve—artificially and needlessly–to increase the patient population.


Heal the sick, not the dieters.

Eating disorders can be very serious. Raising awareness of any eating disorder can save families and lives. Any information that brings a truly ill patient in for treatment is good information.

Paleo newcomers must also remember that strict dietary observance is not obsessive behavior–and that conscientious dieters don’t need to be herded into medical offices…to be screened “just in case.”

Dr. Bratman’s website offers his authorized “orthorexia self-test,” which clearly distinguishes between normal and obsessive dietary pathways. Interested readers should try it.  [8]


[Author’s note: this article is not meant to disparage any health condition. No one should ignore any eating disorder. See your doctor if you think you are ill.]



[1] Introduction to orthorexia nervosa by Dr. Steven Bratman, retrieved here

[2] National Eating Disorders Association introduction to Orthorexia, including  the video “The Dangers of Dieting and Clean Eating,” retrieved here

[3] History of a patient’s demise, recounted by Dr. Steven Bratman, retrieved here

[4] Health consequences of eating disorders from the National Eating Disorders Association website, retrieved here

[5]  “Hatemail” page at the website of Dr. Steven Bratman, retrieved here

[6] KSL.com, “Orthorexia: do you have an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating?” by Emily Fonnesbeck, RD,  6/26/2018, retrieved here

[7] American Mental Health Foundation, “Orthorexia Nervosa: not in the DSM-5” by Evander Lomke, 11/7/2016, retrieved here

[8] The Authorized Bratman Orthorexia Self-Test, created by Dr. Steven Bratman, retrieved here


Do you know what your blood pressure is? The American Heart Association (AHA) encourages everyone to know his or her key markers for heart health, which includes blood pressure. This has become increasingly important in the last few weeks as the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the AHA, along with nine other health professional organizations and a panel of 21 scientists and health experts, have developed new blood pressure guidelines for the first time since 2003.

The new Blood pressure categories are as follows:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120.

The top number of the measurement (systolic) indicates the amount of pressure against artery walls when the heart contracts, while the bottom number (diastolic) refers to the pressure when the heart is resting between beats.

The 2003 guidelines considered Stage 1 hypertension to be equal to or greater than 140/90, whereas now Stage 1 is measured as 130/80 or greater. Those who were previously diagnosed with pre-hypertension are now labeled as having elevated blood pressure.  This change will result in nearly half of the U.S. adult population (about 46 percent) having high blood pressure, with the greatest impact expected among younger people. Additionally, the prevalence of high blood pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45, and double among women under age 45, according to the guideline authors.


Why were the guidelines changed?

One reason for this change was that those who were previously diagnosed with pre-hypertension were at double the risk for a heart attack compared to someone with normal blood pressure. The new blood pressure classifications will allow clinicians to offer an earlier intervention, in the hopes of reducing the risks for cardiac events.

The new guidelines remind us that high blood pressure, in general, is not something we should ignore. It’s a major risk factor for heart disease, second perhaps only to smoking. However, most people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. The guidelines aim to aid in not only the prevention, but also in the early treatment of hypertension, in order to overcome this public health challenge.

Despite the alarming number of people who will now be labeled hypertensive, almost none of the newly labeled hypertensive people (those with systolic blood pressure between 130 and 140) should be placed on medications., Fortunately, most doctors will consider advising lifestyle changes, especially a low sodium diet and adequate exercise.

The Paleo Diet would be a more logical approach than a low sodium version of the modern diet for anyone seeking to lower high blood pressure or to maintain a healthy blood pressure.


Benefits of The Paleo Diet for Healthy Blood Pressure

Although The Paleo Diet is naturally low in sodium, it offers further benefits to achieving a healthy blood pressure. The Paleo Diet is higher in potassium, which has been linked to lower blood pressures. Potassium is also believed to have protective cardiovascular benefits that may be one factor contributing to the rarity of elevated blood pressures among huntergatherer populations.  Swiss chard, spinach, and avocados are examples of potassium rich foods.

The Paleo Diet consists of whole, unprocessed foods and is naturally low in sugar. The rise of modern disease can be linked to the evolution of the modern diet, consisting of heavily processed foods., In addition to the added sodium, processed foods are also preserved and their flavor is enhanced through the addition of refined sugar.  These added sugars, for which there are at least 56 different names , have also been linked to an increase in hypertension. ,    

We encourage you to know your blood pressure number and to follow The Paleo Diet for heart health.



1. “Understanding Blood Pressure Readings.” American Heart Association, November 2017, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/KnowYourNumbers/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp#.Wk02OVQ-fOQ .

2. Whelton, Paul K., et al. “2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2017): 24430.

3. Chobanian, Aram V., et al. “The seventh report of the joint national committee on prevention, detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure: the JNC 7 report.” Jama289.19 (2003): 2560-2571.

4. Stamler, Jeremiah, Rose Stamler, and James D. Neaton. “Blood pressure, systolic and diastolic, and cardiovascular risks: US population data.” Archives of internal medicine 153.5 (1993): 598-615.

5. Whelton, Paul K., et al. “2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2017): 24430.

6. Whelton, Paul K., et al. “2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2017): 24430.

7.  Collins, Rory, et al. “Blood pressure, stroke, and coronary heart disease: part 2, short-term reductions in blood pressure: overview of randomised drug trials in their epidemiological context.” The Lancet 335.8693 (1990): 827-838.

8. Go, Alan S., et al. “An effective approach to high blood pressure control: a science advisory from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Hypertension63.4 (2014): 878-885.

9. Oliveria, Susan A., et al. “Hypertension knowledge, awareness, and attitudes in a hypertensive population.” Journal of general internal medicine 20.3 (2005): 219-225.

10. Appel LJ, Champagne CM, Harsha DW, et al. Effects of comprehensive lifestyle modification on blood pressure control: main results of the PREMIER clinical trial. JAMA. 2003;289:2083-93.

11. Diao, Diana, et al. “Pharmacotherapy for mild hypertension.” Sao Paulo Medical Journal 130.6 (2012): 417-418.

12. Jönsson, Tommy, et al. “Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study.” Cardiovascular diabetology 8.1 (2009): 35.

13. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54

14. Frassetto, Lynda A., et al. “Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet.” European journal of clinical nutrition 63.8 (2009): 947-955.

15. Cordain, Loren, et al. “Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 81.2 (2005): 341-354.

16. Lanham-New, Susan A. “The balance of bone health: tipping the scales in favor of potassium-rich, bicarbonate-rich foods.” The Journal of nutrition 138.1 (2008): 172S-177S.

17. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54

18. Monteiro, Carlos Augusto, et al. “Increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods and likely impact on human health: evidence from Brazil.” Public health nutrition 14.1 (2010): 5-13.

19. Lustig, Robert H., Laura A. Schmidt, and Claire D. Brindis. “Public health: the toxic truth about sugar.” Nature 482.7383 (2012): 27-29.

20.  “The 56 Different Names for Sugar (Some Are Tricky)” June 3, 2017, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/56-different-names-for-sugar .

21. Johnson, Richard J., et al. “Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 86.4 (2007): 899-906.

22. Chen, Liwei, et al. “Reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with reduced blood pressure: a prospective study among United States adults.” Circulation 121.22 (2010): 2398-2406.




The Paleo Diet is not anything new. It has been around for centuries. At its core, The Paleo Diet takes food back to its roots, sometimes literally. Whole foods, lean protein, organic and non-GMO foods are the basis of a paleo diet.

Going Paleo is a choice that will positively affect your entire life. By eliminating excess sugars, added preservatives, and processed foods, your diet is filled with nutrient- and mineral-rich sustenance.

But with all the research available on print and online, there are still many questions that sceptics of The Paleo Diet have. Here is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions and answers to help you understand The Paleo Diet.


1. Eaton, S. B., L. Cordain and S. Lindeberg. Evolutionary Health Promotion: A Consideration of Common Counterarguments. Preventive Medicine. 2001. 34: 119-23.
2. Pinheiro, M. M., T. Wilson. Dietary Fat: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Nutrition Guide for Physicians and Related Healthcare Professionals. 2017. 241-47.
3. Bernstein, A. M., et al., A Home-Based Nutrition Intervention to Increase Consumption of Fruits, Vegetables, and Calcium-Rich Foods in Community Dwelling Elders. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2002. 102(10): 1421-1427.
4. Hou, K. J., D. Lee, J. Lewis. Diet and Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Review of Patient-Targeted Recommendations. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014. 12(10): 1592-1600.
5. Cordain, L. AARP The Paleo Answer: 7 Days to Lose Weight, Feel Great, Stay Young. 2012.
6. Masharani, U., et al. Metabolic and Physiologic Effects From Consuming a Hunter-Gatherer (Paleolithic)-Type Diet in Type 2 Diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015. 69(8) 944-8.
7. Cordain, L., The Nutritional Characteristics of a Contemporary Diet Based Upon Paleolithic Food Groups. 2002. Jana 5(3): 15-24).
8. Poterba, M. J., S. F. Venti, D. A. Wise. The Asset Cost of Poor Health. The Journal of the Economics of Ageing. 2017. 9:172-84.
9. //thepaleodiet.com/bill-nye-science-guy. Accessed September 10, 2017.
10. //thepaleodiet.com/dr-cordain-responds-to-critics-of-a-recent-paleo-diet-study. Accessed September 10, 2017.

What is the Paleo Diet? That was my initial reaction to the term “The Paleo Diet” when I started working out at a CrossFit gym 10 years ago. A fellow gym member gave me a quick synopsis
of what it entailed, which was enough to get me intrigued. Going grain-free specifically, seemed to be just what I needed to improve my health.

Food was a huge part of my childhood. My father’s side of the family is Italian and we would all gather on Sunday for a feast starting with morning pastries, continuing to big plates of pasta
with bread, and ending with homemade pies and cookies. At home, our pantry was filled with sugar cereals, every imaginable type of packaged cookie, and a freezer full of microwaveable TV
dinners. My father owned and operated a Burger King, which we would get to eat every Friday night. Homemade dinner was whatever could be pulled together quickly, from a box, with the
occasional can of corn or green beans on the side. My mother likes to joke about when I was six, I asked if we could have a “normal” dinner like other families who ate fresh vegetables.

I was sick throughout my childhood. Starting with chronic ear infections as a baby, and graduating to chronic tonsillitis and strep throat during elementary school. I would be
prescribed antibiotics and about two weeks later would develop another infection. The solution was to have my tonsils removed. This certainly resolved the tonsillitis, but then lead to chronic
sinus infections throughout my teen years. Beginning when I was a teenager, I inherently knew that food was related to our health. However, I was operating on the paradigm of whole grains being the foundation.

I dabbled in various ways of eating through my 20’s, which could be described as low-fat, vegan-friendly, and then flexitarian – all aiming to follow the nutrition guidelines set forth by the
government. My grocery cart was filled with low sodium soups labeled healthy, and low-sugar wheat-based cereals, rounded out with whole grain breads. Once when I was living in Brooklyn,
after evaluating my purchases, the grocery cashier asked me if I was on a diet. I answered, “No, I just follow a healthy diet.”

Despite my attempts to eat nutritiously, I did not feel great. I had a bunch of symptoms, such as hypoglycemia, debilitating stomach pain, dizziness- sometimes leading to fainting, and
numbness and tingling in my limbs. Over the course of a few years, I endured a battery of tests from a variety of doctors, but no cause could be determined. And no solution for improvement
was suggested. Finally, in 2006 I learned about food sensitivities from my naturopath and I went on a strict protocol free of gluten, dairy, nightshades, eggs, and a host of other foods to
which a blood test revealed I was reacting to.

By eliminating these offenders from my diet, my energy and symptoms improved. However, I was disappointed to find out after six months of new eating habits my subsequent blood test
revealed I was reacting to the alternative grains I had been substituting for gluten. I took various supplements to support my digestion and continued my gluten-free diet thinking it was
the only thing I could do until I discovered the Paleo Diet about a year later.

It all began to make sense. Our modern diet, even when free of gluten and dairy (and with the use digestive supplements) doesn’t work with how our bodies run most efficiently. I’ve
embraced the Paleo Diet as a lifestyle and also as the nutritional foundation on which I am raising my daughter, who is seven.

I haven’t been completely disease free in the past decade. My pregnancy most likely triggered a reactivation of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) [1] that had been latent and lurking in my body. EBV is
the virus that usually causes the symptoms of mononucleosis [2]. Approximately 95 percent of people between the ages of 35 and 40 carry an inactive form of this infection [3]. Many of those
infected with mono never even develop symptoms upon initial infection– I was one of them. It is considered very rare to develop chronic EBV, which is diagnosable by blood test [4], and many doctors brush it off as an inconsequential illness. Although, I would argue it can be severely debilitating and has a negative impact on quality of life.

EBV is known to damage mitochondria [5], the powerhouses of the body where energy [6], ATP is produced [7]. Fatigue is often the initial and major symptom when the virus is active. I had chalked my fatigue up to pregnancy and then the demands of motherhood. I also began to get sick all time, with a chronic sore throat, runny nose, leading to a lingering cough that would last for
over six weeks. I would get better and then two weeks later the cycle would start again, similar to the pattern I had as a child. Fortunately, over the past few years my immune system has
gotten the upper hand, and although the EBV will never go away, the Paleo Diet has been the core of how I manage it.


1 Fleisher, Gary, and Ronald Bolognese. “Persistent Epstein-Barr virus infection and pregnancy.” Journal of Infectious Diseases 147.6 (1983): 982-986.
2 Sumaya, Ciro Valent, and Yasmin Ench. “Epstein-Barr virus infectious mononucleosis in children.” Pediatrics 75.6 (1985): 1011-1019.
3 Schooley, R. T. “Epstein-Barr virus.” Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 2.2 (1989): 267-271.
4 Okano, Motohiko, et al. “Proposed guidelines for diagnosing chronic active Epstein‐Barr virus infection.” American journal of hematology 80.1 (2005): 64-69.
5 Vernon, Suzanne D., et al. "Preliminary evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction associated with post-infective fatigue after acute infection with Epstein Barr virus." BMC infectious diseases 6.1 (2006): 15.
6 Goldschmidt, Vivian. “What Are Mitochondria?.”
7 Myhill, Sarah, Norman E. Booth, and John McLaren-Howard. “Chronic fatigue syndrome and mitochondrial dysfunction.” International journal of clinical and experimental medicine 2.1 (2009)

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