Perfect Health Diet - Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat
How much do I want to read more? 7/10
Interesting to read about the history of our long time ancestors, and why eating has consequences on our health.
Foreword - Mark Sisson
In writing Primal Blueprint, my goal was to improve the overall health of the general population.
Most health issues can be avoided with just a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle.
While we wait for the medical community to catch up and get with the big picture, we’re lucky to have a pair of minds like the Jaminets’ to read, absorb, and learn from in the meantime.
By reading this book, you are taking part in a new (yet ancestral), radical (yet reasonable) movement toward better health.
We are two scientists who ate poorly and ignored a gradual decline in our health. By age forty, we had developed disturbing health problems:
- Paul had neuropathy, memory loss, impaired mood, physical sluggishness, and rosacea.
- Shou-Ching had painful endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and uterine fibroids; hypothyroidism; allergies; constipation, acid reflux, and bloating.
Doctors were of little help.
It is supported by evidence: robustly healthy Paleolithic skeletons were succeeded by unhealthy skeletons with cavity-riddled teeth after the invention of agriculture.
We were persuaded to give the Paleo diet a try.
Paul became leaner and stronger. Shou-Ching’s allergies and digestive problems cleared. Clearly there was something to this diet.
Our health kept getting better; we began to feel as though we were in our twenties again.
The Perfect Health Diet Is Born
Five years of arduous research had finally led us to a healthful diet.
Our aim is to eliminate every nutrient deficiency, remove every dietary toxin, and eat nothing in excess.
A Theory of Disease, Health, and Aging
We believe that disease and ill health are largely caused by three factors:
- Nutrient deficiencies;
- Poisoning by toxins—most of them food toxins;
- Chronic infections by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and parasitic worms. these infections are fed by excess nutrition and flourish when immune function is impaired by nutrient deficiencies or circadian rhythm disruption.
Most people’s diets are deficient in some nutrients, provide an excess of others.
Much of what people consider “aging” is, in fact, infectious disease aggravated by a bad diet.
About the Science in This Book
what foods to eat
what foods to avoid
how to be well nourished by food or supplements
how to live a healthful lifestyle
- About one pound per day. 4 fist-sized servings—of “safe starches”: white rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro, winter squashes, and a few others. Add up to another pound of sugary plants— fruits, berries, beets, carrots, and such. and as many low-calorie vegetables as you like. Be sure to include a bit of seaweed, for minerals. In total, you might eat 2 to 3 pounds of plant foods.
- At least a half pound, probably not more than one pound, of fatty meats, seafood, and eggs. Once a week, eat salmon or other cold-water fish for omega-3 fatty acids.
- Eat 2 to 4 tablespoons of healthful cooking oils and fats per day—enough to make your food delicious but not oily. Butter, sour cream, beef tallow, duck fat, coconut oil, olive oil, and tree nut butters are the best fats. Use spices, including salt. Liberally use acids such as vinegar, lemon juice, and lime juice.
- Adjust the amount of food to fit your appetite. Adjust the proportions of fat, starch, and protein to make your food as delicious as possible.
Do NOT eat:
- Grains and cereals (including wheat, oats, and corn but excluding rice) or any products made from them (including bread and pasta).
- Sugar, corn syrup, or products containing them
- Beans or peanuts (such as soybeans, kidney beans, jack beans, or pinto beans).
- Omega-6-rich vegetable seed oils (such as soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, and canola oil).
- Milk, but DO eat fermented or fatty dairy products: butter, sour cream, ice cream, cheese, yogurt
- Eat “supplemental foods” such as beef liver, shellfish, kidneys, egg yolks, bone and joint broth soups, seaweed, tomatoes, and fermented vegetables to obtain crucial micronutrients.
- Practice intermittent fasting by restricting eating to an eight-hour window.
- Exercise in the morning; expose your skin to sunshine; avoid bright light and too much food at night; and get a good night’s sleep.
Part I - An Evolutionary Guide to Healthful Eating
1 - Why We Start with an Evolutionary Perspective
Why understanding the big picture is so crucial to your health.
Like the eight blind men trying to discern the nature of an elephant, experts quarrel about diet!
Why is it so hard to figure out the optimal diet?
Like the blind men in the fable, diet experts begin with no clear picture of what an elephant looks like and after lifelong investigations acquire only a partial grasp of the evidence.
A Big-Picture View We Can Trust
evolution selects for healthful behaviors—including healthful eating.
The Paleolithic was so long—2.6 million years—that Paleolithic man became highly optimized for the Stone Age environment.
That means if we want an environment, diet, and lifestyle that will be healthful for all of us, we have to look back to the Paleolithic.
The Paleolithic began 2.6 million years ago with the invention of stone tools and ended 10,000 years ago with the invention of agriculture.
The Paleolithic lasted a hundred thousand generations.
at the end of the Paleolithic the human population was 3 million.
7 billion today—but evolution has had little time, less than five hundred generations, to work its magic.
2 - The Paleolithic Diet
- Eat real food: recently living plants and animals.
- Eat mostly plants—but low-carb!
- Among plant foods, favor in-ground starches.
- Don’t be afraid to eat fat! Hunter-gatherers flourished on a fat-rich diet.
The premise of “Paleo” diets is that foods hunted and gathered by our Paleolithic (“Old Stone Age”) ancestors represent the healthiest human way of eating, while agriculturally-produced foods may be dangerous to well-being.
Direct evidence for the superiority of Paleolithic diets comes from archaeological studies of ancient skeletons. The Paleolithic was the healthiest epoch of human history.
32 percent of pet cats and dogs are obese, but obesity is rare among wild wolves and tigers. feral rats living in cities and eating discarded human food have grown increasingly obese.
Zoo-born elephants live only half as long as elephants living wild.
Paleolithic Health and Neolithic Decline
Paleolithic humans were tall and slender; cavities and signs of malnutrition or stress in bones were rare; muscle attachments were strong, and there was an absence of skeletal evidence of infections or malignancy.
The adoption of farming in the Neolithic radically changed the diet, and with it came a dramatic loss of health. grains and legumes—foods that, as we shall see, are toxic.
muscles weakened; bone and teeth pathologies, such as cavities and osteoporosis, became common; signs of infections and inflammation became common.
Paleolithic Plant Foods: Savanna Starches
This emphasis on starchy roots, tubers, corms, and rhizomes continued throughout the Paleolithic.
Paleolithic Animal Foods
hunt animals, tear meat, and cut bones to reach the marrow.
What Was the Proportion of Animal to Plant Food?
There are two major theories:
- Stone tools and cooperative hunting enabled our Paleolithic ancestors to obtain fatty animal foods
- Control of fire enabled our Paleolithic ancestors to cook starchy plants, rendering them less toxic and more digestible. This greatly increased the calories obtainable from plant foods
Modern Hunter-Gatherer Diets
- 46 hunter-gatherer groups obtained 85 percent or more of their energy from meat, fish, and eggs, but no groups obtained 85 percent of energy from plant sources. ere were no vegetarian hunter- gatherers.
- 133 hunter-gatherer groups obtained 65 percent or more of their energy from meat, fish, and eggs; only 8 groups obtained 65 percent of energy from plants.
- The median group obtained 70 percent of their energy from animal foods, 30 percent from plant foods.
Plant and Animal Food Balance
The natural inference is that a healthful diet needs a certain amount of plant foods to balance its animal foods. As we’ll see, starchy in-ground plants are so calorie poor that even obtaining a mere 15 percent of calories from carbs means consuming more plant foods than animal foods by weight. e Paleolithic diet may have been low-carb, but it wasn’t low-plant.
Takeaway: The Diet of the Paleolithic
The Paleolithic diet was a fat-predominant, low-carbohydrate diet. Calories came mainly from fat-bearing animal foods, but plant foods were an essential part of the diet and comprised most of the weight.
3 - The “Cannibal Diet” of Fasting
Instead of “You are what you eat,” you need to “Eat what you are.”
food was not always readily available.
hunter-gatherers often went without food and functioned quite well.
The Composition of the Human Body
42 kilograms of water, 13.5 kilograms of fat, 10.6 kilograms of protein, 3.7 kilograms of minerals, and about 0.5 kilogram of glycogen (a storage form of glucose) in muscle and liver.
Eat What You Are, and Make Fasting Easy
Fasting means hunger and misery to most people.
Those who adopt a Paleo diet are often surprised and pleased to find that fasting has suddenly become easy and comfortable.
But if we eat a very different diet, fasting can become hard.
Do your body a favor: Eat what you are. Make it easy for your body to build useful tissue, and you’ll make it easy for useless fat tissue to melt away.
4 - What Breast Milk Teaches Us About Human Diets
Don’t be afraid of fat.