Category Archives: Book Recommendations

Book Recommendation: More favourite Primal reads

 

 

 

 

 

“Ignore the awkward! How the cholesterol myths are kept alive.” by Uffe Ravnskov (8/10)

Dr. Uffe Ravnskov methodically goes through the research relating to the Lipid Hypothesis and demonstrates why we should question the validity of this theory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The New Evolution Diet: The Smart Way to Lose Weight, Feel Great and Live Longer ” by Art De Vany (8/10)

Art De Vany is often referred to as the Grandfather of Paleo. He has lived according to ancestral health principles for more than 30 years, and is one of the strongest and healthiest looking 73-year olds you will come across. In “The New Evolution Diet” De Vany explains the principles of Paleo life-style along with the science that supports it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The 4-Hour Body” by Tim Ferris (7/10)

You may be surprised to find this book on my list. Tim Ferris is neither Paelo nor Primal. He is his own man. A dedicated body hacker who conducts extreme experiments on himself to uncover how to achieve maximum results with minimum input. My weight loss really gathered momentum when I started Tim Ferris’ Slow-Carb Diet last year. I now believe the Primal and Paleo diets are more sustainable and healthier, but I am fascinated by Tim Ferris’ perspective on how to affect self- transformation.

For more book recommendations click here.

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Primal Beginner’s Q&A: What to eat for breakfast

Question:

Hi Peter, I spent last evening scouring your blog and planning to start things off, and, duly inspired,started this morning by cutting out milk from drinks, and have had none of the other non paleo items, which has been great much to my surprise considering how much I usually eat in the dairy/pasta/bread/grain family. I did, however, find myself scratching my head somewhat at breakfast time, wondering what the breadth of choice is in this area…..so, my question is – what sorts of things do you have for breakfast? I went for a couple of eggs in the end, but shouldn’t think it’s wise to plump for that each day. I did look up a couple of websites, and whilst they had sample eating plans, they were rather more exotic that my lifestyle affords me to be….I thought of mushrooms, obviously cold meats (which is a continental thing isn’t it?). I don’t fancy veg for breakfast really….so, I wondered what sorts of breakfasts you usually have???

Look forward to your thoughts….

Richard

Answer:

Firstly, congratulations on getting started, Richard.

Most mornings I have 2-3 rashers of bacon along with 4 eggs either scrambled in butter or fried sunny side up in coconut oil. Some mornings I supplement this with a bowl of full fat greek yoghurt. Other mornings, I will have a salad of whatever vegetables we have in the fridge. I dress my salad in olive oil, lemon juice and I season it with a little salt. I particularly like salads that include some avocado. I also sometimes have spinach or mushrooms.

I consider eggs one of the best wholefoods around, and I eat in the region of 25-30 a week. I used to eat more when I was really focused on weight loss.

Some people are concerned about the high cholesterol in egg yolks, but studies have shown dietary cholesterol does not increase your blood cholesterol materially. Here is one such study: link

If your doctor insists eggs raise your risk of heart disease, then I would say it’s time to look for another doctor. It’s a good indication that he or she does not bother to follow developments in medical research, and personally I would not want to discuss my health with a doctor who is intellectually lazy. But each to his own, off course. You can also refer your doctor to this blog post if the topic of cholesterol comes up: link

If you can afford it, I would go for the best quality produce. This means organic free range eggs and nitrate free bacon. But, on balance, it is more important to eliminate the grains and sugar from your diet than worry about every breakfast ingredient being organic.

Paleo/Primal dieters, who are more purist than I, consider bacon a processed food and will either not eat it at all, or try not to eat it every day. To get around this I hear a lot of primal dieters say they make extra dinner in the evening, and have the leftovers for breakfast the following morning. I sometimes do this also. I personally think it is ok to eat bacon regularly, though, and I never seem to tire of it. It feels like a treat every time I have it!

For anyone who is about to start a paleo inspired diet, I strongly recommend taking a blood test early on, and to repeat it after 4-6 weeks. After this inital period, I would test every 3-6 months. You are about to make some dramatic changes to your diet, and blood tests will help spot if your physiology responds adversely in any way. I predict your health markers will improve along with your body composition, but every person is different. In the beginning there is also the possibility that you get one or two things wrong and don’t make the progress you expected. A blood test will give you clues about what to change to get back on track.

You should also bear in mind that I am not medically qualified. I am just some guy who had some success loosing weight. You should not take my advice (nor anybody else’s for that matter) without testing independently that your body is responding well to your new diet.

I am about to have a new blood test, Here are the health markers I plan to request. The last four on this list are not generally included in a standard blood test and some may be unfamiliar to some doctors:

  • HDL cholesterol
  • LDL cholesterol
  • Triglycerites (low is best)
  • Fasting serum insulin
  • Blood glucose
  • High sensitivity C-reactive protein
  • HbA1c
  • Omega-6/Omega-3 blood assay
  • Vitamin D3

It is also worth exploring the materials I provide links to in my blog posts. Aside from changing your diet, the best thing you can do for your health is to be curious about how your body works and what is good for it. I would also invest a little money and little time reading a book by one of the leading lights in the ancestral health movement. Here is a list of my current Top 3 books on ancestral health: link

If you want more inspiration for Paleo/Primal breakfast dishes, here is a cookbook we use a lot in my family:

“Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals” by Mark Sisson

Hope that helps. Good luck and keep the questions coming!

Peter

How to unravel science

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself,
and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Richard Feynman.

Headlines in newspaper, articles in magazines and programs on television offer new health guidelines every week and they often contradict each other.

You know the kinds of stories I am talking about. First garlic protects against heart disease, then suddenly it doesn’t. You read coffee is supposed to be full of antioxidants, then you see another story that says it causes cancer. It is all very confusing. It makes you wonder what information to trust and what to dismiss.

Tom Naughton did a lecture on this at the Low Carb Cruise:

Ben Goldacre also did a presentation on this topic at TED:

In summary:

  • If you really want to know whether you can trust the research you read about, you need to know how the research was conducted.
  • Don’t be intimidated by science. A bit of critical thinking is all you need to determine if the information you are given is worth paying attention to. Tom Naughton’s lecture offers tips on this.
  • Know the difference between an observational study and a clinical study. Observational studies try to find correlations between events and outcomes. They are useful for developing hypotheses, but are not conclusive proof of anything.
  • Be aware that most health coverage in popular media is based on findings from observational studies.

More than ever, it’s critical to think critically. Bad information travels fast on the internet. Guard yourself by learning how to sniff out the good stuff from the bad.

Further Reading:

Science 101 Tutorial by Tim Huntley at My Athletic Life

Book: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

Article: Lies, Damned Lies and Medical Science by David H. Freeman, The Atlantic

Article: Why almost everything you hear about medicine is wrong by Sharon Begley, The Daily Beast

Book recommendation: Top 3 Books on Ancestral Health

Here are my current Top-3 books on ancestral health.

“The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson (10/10)

This book is a joy to read. It is my current favourite how-to book. Mark Sisson gives practical advice on how you can put primal life-style changes into action for optimal health and weight loss. He also explains the science in a nice accessible way. If you want to see the difference the Primal Blueprint has made to people, go to www.marksdailyapple.com.

“The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf (9/10)

Robb Wolf is one of the people who has done most to popularise the Paleo movement. In this book he explains in considerable depth what goes wrong when we get obese. He also links this to diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, parkinsons, PCOS and a host of other diseases. If (like me) you have a tendency to get geeky about the science, then this is definitely a book for you. If you are more action oriented and less interested in the scientific detail, Rob has recently created “Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Total Transformation” for people like you.

“Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes (10/10)

This is not really a how-to book, but it is an excellent book for understanding weight loss science. Gary Taubes addresses common misconceptions about why we get fat in the western world. He does a magnificent job of debunking both popular myth and faulty bias in the scientific establishment. This book completely changed my perspective on nutrition and health. It has also changed the views of many others, and it has helped create real momentum for the ancestral and low-carb health movements. It is a very important book.

 

For more book recommendations click here.

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