Paleo Muscle Gain

Does the paleo diet promote muscle gain?

I have read and been asked the question on whether or not the paleo diet can help promote and support the healthy development of muscle mass gain. Perhaps we should start by discussing the effects of optimum gene expression rather than simply evaluating how the paleo diet can help with lean muscle mass building.

Gene expression is incredibly important when practising body recomposition, and can help with the promotion of proper muscle building without any particularly abnormal supplementation or more complicated muscle building techniques such as lots of gym work etc. The balance between lean, healthy muscle which is both aesthetically appealing and lean, healthy muscle that is strong is one we need to focus on and strive towards if muscle gains are the goal.

There is no point in having the most appealing aesthetic physique without actually possessing real world strength that can be used for more than just flexing to impress the ladies, haha. I don’t think there is anything bad with wanting to look good, strong and healthy, but I just fail to see the point in putting on muscle that doesn’t have a real world practical application. Your body works hard, and subsequently you work hard to put on muscle, so why not use it for more than just looking good?

Think of it this way, athletes in most disciplines are lean yet still strong. This is with the exemption of body builders and even weight lifters. Weight lifters however generally have lots of muscle bulk, which is a direct result of the type of exercise they frequently practice. Their large amounts of muscle mass are required to support and lift the unbelievably heavy weights which are part of their sport.

The health benefits of lean muscle

Lean muscle is associated with many beneficial attributes. Blood circulates better, power to weight ratios are better and at the end of the day lean muscle promotes longer life. Think of a bus versus a sports car, which one would you rather be?

In addition to the obvious benefits of being stronger and looking and feeling healthier there are also the regenerative benefits of having plenty of lean muscle mass. Patients who are admitted to hospital who possess a higher ratio of muscle mass to body fat heal quicker and more effectively. Furthermore, muscular bodies are more resistant to injuries related to sudden impacts or falls. This is especially important later on in life where a fall can mean a broken something, like a pelvis. Strong muscles support and control the skeleton, the more muscle you have the more control there is of the body’s movements and so there is more protection against sudden movements.

Different types of muscle gainers

Everyone is different in some way or another, but we all have the same basic code. It is the variations in our genetic make up as a result of the combination of our parent’s DNA that can often determine whether or not we are good at building muscle mass. Some of us are born to build muscle and others are unfortunately not so lucky. The common name given to these poor peeps is hardgainers. They are typically people who aren’t necessarily non athletic,  but are those who simply don’t put on muscle very easily.

This doesn’t mean that these hardgaining people are not as strong as those who readily pack on the muscle, the muscle they develop is usually just as strong, it just isn’t as visible. There will be a point however where even a very strong hardgainer will have to start focusing on putting on more muscle mass to continue developing more strength. The trick to developing muscle lies in the hormones which are required to support it. In addition to hormonal optimisation, hardgainers will have to eat more food and work harder than normal gainers or those that gain muscle mass easily.

You want to be lean and effective!

What hormones are important for gaining muscle on the paleo diet?

The same as all other diet’s hormonal requirements for muscle gains.

Testosterone

Testosterone is absolutely required for the development of muscle effectively. If you are male, you have naturally higher amounts of the stuff so not to worry so much. The trick is to promote its production and release into the blood stream. For women, it’s much more difficult to come by. There is no need to do anything crazy here in terms of supplementation through steroids, which by the way is largely illegal.

Growth hormone

Growth hormone is important because it is responsible for yup, you guessed it, building muscle mass. This hormone also plays a role in the reduction of fat in the body, and you want that to be able to actually see those shiny new muscles.

IGF-1

This is a very important part of the trio of muscle building hormones. And interestingly enough, it is dependant on testosterone, which is dependant on growth hormone. The body is very synergistic and many of its systems work with each other to produce an end result. In this case, that end result is heightened levels of muscle mass.

What else is required to achieve muscle gains while eating according to the paleo diet?

Well, all those hormones need some command. They are like battalions and need an instruction to begin operating. That signal begins with engaging in physical stress. A common factor with those people who don’t have enough body mass, or want to gain muscle mass but have a seriously hard time doing so is that they simply don’t work hard enough. 

The nervous system is kinda fussy about what it considers a big enough signal to begin the production of and the allocation of resources to muscle gain. Squats, sprints and lifting heavy objects promotes an adequate response to begin building muscle mass. Doing repetitive, low intensity or even high intensity cardiovascular exercise doesn’t do much to promote the generation of new, effective muscle. In fact on the body’s adaptive radar, it does next to nothing. 

The only way to get the body’s attention and entice it to pack on muscle is to lift heavy objects, sprint at 100% and really give it a rev.

So try and experiment with some heavy lifting in the form of either body weight exercises or the inclusion of resistance and weight training. You want to really push yourself without causing injury. The same goes for sprinting. Try performing four to five 100% sprints one after the other with a short 2-3 minute break in between each one. Again, if you aren’t used to exercising, take it easy. The body is incredibly adaptive, but there is no use exercising hard if it is going to result in injury.

Keep strong,

And here’s to getting strong and  ripped!

Andrew.

Guest Post: Grass-Fed Beef and My Paleo Diet

Grass-Fed Beef and My Paleo Diet

Earlier this year I set out to modify the foods I ate to be in line with the Paleo Diet. After some research I found out that it should not have been too hard to change things up, all I had to do was cut as much carbohydrates out of my diet and start focusing on grass-fed beef that was pasture raised. Going beyond that, I had to round my diet out past grass-fed beef to include fish, organic vegetables, some fruit, mushrooms, roots and nuts.

I showed my wife a video on YouTube about the Paleolithic Diet so she’d better understand why I “wanted to eat like a caveman”. She was very supportive of my goal to loose weight (I was only 25 lb. overweight).

I asked my wife that the next time she went to the supermarket to buy pasture raised grass-fed beef, wild atlantic salmon, organic fruits and veggies and as many different nuts that she could find. We already were fungi enthusiasts so that was covered from the start.

Where’s the Beef?

When she came back from the store, she had everything but the meat. I said “where’s the beef?” She told me that our local supermarket was utterly void of grass-fed beef. The only thing available as an alternative was organic beef. I know that organic beef is not the same as grass-fed. Maybe all organic meant was that the cattle ate organic grain and corn from a feedlot. I knew that is not what this diet was all about. We went online and found a ranch that sells grass-fed beef and ordered an assortment of premium steaks. My list of foods was then complete.

Even though my wife couldn’t commit to cutting pasta, milk, bread, pancakes etc from her diet, I did commit and the results were measurable. My commitment to the Paleo Diet was to stick with it for 3 months and see what happened. We ate grass-fed steak the first night and continued eating pasture raised grass-fed meats and wild fish every night after that, it was awesome.

The Results of my Paleo Diet

Not long after I started, I noticed an increased level of energy. I was not sluggish when I woke up in the morning and I was not tired by 5 pm in the evenings like I used to be. Even more than that, bloated belly (I looked pregnant) started to slim down within 1 month after starting. I had to cut new holes in my belt because I was too cheap to buy a new belt. I actually used my belt to chart my progress. By the end I had cut 3 holes in my belt within my 3 month commitment.

It has been 7 months since I first started the diet and I no longer consider it to be temporary. Eating grass-fed beef, wild fish, organic vegetables, nuts and avoiding carbs now feels normal. I do not miss donuts or spaghetti or even refined sugar one bit. I lost the flab and actually feel like I can build muscle faster when eating like a hunter. I would not go back to the old ways if someone paid me.

Richie Coffman is a writer who lives on the front range of Colorado and is also a big supporter of pasture raised grass-fed beef.

 

What Should My Paleo Water Intake Be?

What Is Correct Paleo Water Intake?

Before we get into some theory, take a moment and picture our cave dwelling ancestors making their way over to a new home, would they be carrying water bottles or require frequent drinks of water? Nope! Conventional wisdom tells us that we should aim to drink around eight glasses of water a day. This seems like a large amount, especially when you consider that it is about two litres worth, or one soda bottle. Almost nobody drinks that amount of water everyday, at least not comfortably. At large volumes of water consumption in fact, people have actually died. At 2 litres of water daily, you could potentially also run the risk of thinning out your reserves of electrolytes. In fact this is what contributes to being killed by water over-consumption. Our bodies are particularly adept at sourcing water, and most of our water comes from the foods we eat.So it appears then that once again, conventional wisdom has led us astray yet again. This ties back to why our ancestors wouldn’t have to have drank as much water as we perhaps once thought because of their diet. Obviously water would have been an important factor when deciding on where to live, but there wasn’t necessarily a need to make water immediately available like modern man.

paleo-water-intake
Our ancestors would have had to have probably settled for the odd cup-like leafe every now and then for water…

How much water to drink daily

Generally speaking, it is best to rely on your natural thirst mechanism as an indication on how much and how frequently you should drink water. I have noticed that because of the radical increase in my vegetable consumption my overall fluid water intake has decreased. Having said that though, I still keep a bottle of water on my desk and sip at it whenever I think about water. That is actually a pretty good gauge on when or not you should hydrate. If you think about water, drink some.

Unless you are exercising pretty strenuously, you don’t need to consume a hell of a lot of water. It is all relative to the amount of water you expel as sweat during exercise, and the subsequent thirst you feel afterwards or during said exercise. Remember that when starting to exercise after a period of inactivity it will feel as though you are thirsty as you adapt to the increased amount of air being taken into your lungs. Try not to overhydrate.

Perhaps a more accurate recommendation for daily water consumption would be to aim for around 1 litre or 4 glasses. This can come from a multitude of sources, as contrary to popular belief, beverages such as tea, coffee and alcohol (non sugary) don’t dehydrate you. While some drinks, such as coffee and other caffeinated drinks can be diuretic, meaning they make you want to urinate, the quantity you have to consume to make this a health hazard is out of reach of most people.

An important note about too much water consumption

The issue with water consumption is that if too much is consumed, there is a risk of washing out enough electrolytes to promote negative health conditions.  This is especially true if you are an athlete and drink large amounts of water after and during strenuous exercise without recovering salts and electrolytes. Remember that you lose a lot of salt when sweating, and this needs to be replenished in order to maintain health, and promote effective muscle action during exercise. The specific condition related to the over consumption of water after strenuous exercise is called hyponatremiaA more serious condition related to the over-consumption of water is cerebral edema, the swelling of the brain due to excessive amounts of fluid.

So you see, there is a balance, just as there is with everything when talking about nutrition. The idea that we need aroun 2 litres or eight glasses of water a day is to me, excessive and unnecessary. Follow your thirst and trust your body. It is built to survive, and will notify you of any distress it is feeling and instinctively you’ll have an idea of how to fix it.

paleo-water-intake

Water consumption and eating

The stomach requires there to be a specific level of acidity present to effectively break down proteins so that the rest of the digestive system can properly process food. This acidity usually needs to be in the pH 1-2 area, and you guessed it, too much water upsets this level. Too much water, or even a glass of water before eating can dilute stomach acid enough to allow certain proteins through the stomach without being sufficiently processed, creating problems later down the line. 

It is simple tricks like this that can mean the difference between someone being diagnosed with a food allergy, and is very simple to make into a habit. Try not to drink before or during a meal. This trick in optimising stomach pH also plays a role in destroying bacteria and protecting against foreign germs etc.

Conclusion

So to sum it all up, trust your body and your thirst mechanism. You don’t need 8 glasses a day to live a healthy, paleo existence, and you won’t fall over dead by drinking less either. In addition to the points I’ve made above, treat bottled water as a unnecessary accessory. For the most part, bottled water is just as clean as tap water, and it is also stored in plastic containers which can affect the taste of the water and contribute to pollution levels. If you are thirsty, drink tap water, it’s good!

Heres to good levels of hydration,

Keep well,
Andrew.

Guest Post: The Modern Use of an Ancient Diet

The Modern Use of an Ancient Diet

Despite still feeling young as I entered my forties, I’d been slowly gaining weight over the years. I realized I had to do something to stop that trend. The paleo diet seemed an excellent solution, and a logical one. It makes sense believing that certain foods available in the modern world are not made for bodies that were developed over thousands of years as hunters and gatherers.

ancient-diet

A major advantage which drew me into trying the paleolithic diet was that I wouldn’t have to worry about counting calories. I like to eat, and would feel burned on a diet that would limit my food intake. Though I was about 25 pounds overweight, I felt healthy and strong and didn’t want to lose that feeling while I was losing weight. Another plus for me was that the diet encouraged the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Since learning the importance of the high number of veggie servings in a day (I’ve seen suggestions of up to ten!), I had already been incorporating them in my everyday life. I’m a firm believer all those vegetables aid in my health and well-being. However, some foods had to go.

I reluctantly had to eliminate my beloved cereals, but that made it easier to get rid of processed sugar since I only really used it at breakfast. I never drank much soda or sugary drinks so that was easy to quit. I had to stop eating popcorn, which I would snack on several times a week, but that also eliminated my use of oil. I was never big on pasta, though I felt a little concerned at giving up brown rice. I especially like adding raw vegetables to rice, and those dishes really fill me up, so I cheat a little with that grain. Since I indulge myself with the rice, I don’t miss my cornflakes or raisin bran as much. I probably was only drinking about a cup of milk per day before the diet, so I just kept that the same.

I quit eating cheese, but as a life-long milk drinker, I believe the health benefits outweigh any faults in that small amount of dairy. I was able to keep many of the foods I was already enjoying such as poultry and fish. I don’t eat red meat so I didn’t have to concern myself with grass-fed over grain-fed animals. I appreciate the many varieties of nuts, but I had to force myself to cut down on peanut butter. Happily, I started eating eggs again, though I try to limit myself to one a day because of their high cholesterol. With so much food to choose from, I avoided getting bored with my meals and discovered some interesting combinations. Fruit and vinegar are not incompatible in a vegetable salad, fish in an omelette can be quite tasty, and potato salad with olive oil and avocado became one of my favorite side-dishes.

I reached my weight goal within seven months thanks to the paleo diet and exercise. I continue to follow its guidelines, but I don’t consider myself on a “diet”. Instead, I believe I’m utilizing the proper foods to enjoy a healthy life, and a happy one.

About the author

This has been a guest post from one of the webmasters at Australia’s Eat Stop Eat website, if you would like to know more about the program, why not check out the website?

Guest Post: Combining the Paleo and Zone Diet

Combining the Paleo and Zone Diet

I have become a strong supporter of the paleo diet over the past few months. Many people I know have felt much better after becoming paleos. After hearing some of their experiences, I decided to give it a shot myself. I have already started to notice the results from my new diet. However, you may be able to modify the diet to make it even better. My brother in law told me about a diet he and my sister are trying known as the “zone diet.” There are a couple key elements to the zone diet. One of them is consuming a carefully balanced ratio of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. If you follow the zone diet, 40% of your calories will be from carbohydrates, while the other 60% will come equally from fats and proteins.

combing-the-pale-and-zone-diet
As late as 2008, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggested that 10-30% of our daily calorie intake come from proteins (the average is about 15%). At the same time, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion advocated people eat up to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates. New research has shown we were eating far too many carbs.
The zone diet was created by Dr. Barry Sears, a biochemist living near Long Beach. Sears states that consuming a balanced ratio of calories from carbs, fats and proteins helps maintain a proper hormonal balance.

Sears and a number of other advocates of the zone diet cite a number of benefits it provides:

  • Your body doesn’t store calories as fat. Therefore, they are used more efficiently.
  • Researchers have found that people on the zone diet eat higher levels of necessary vitamins and other nutrients.
  • The diet is believed to reduce the risks of developing heart disease and can lower blood pressure.
  • Evidence suggests that people following the zone diet are at a lower risk of developing diabetes.
  • The zone diet could possibly reduce the risks of developing cancer.

Many athletes have combined the paleo and zone diet to improve their endurance. I personally haven’t tried the zone diet. I can only go by what other people have said. Many Crossfit trainers have said they feel more energetic, more alert and overall healthier since they have combined the two diets.

One of the things that has holding me back is implementing the right portion control. Sticking to a pure paleo diet can be a challenge in and of itself. Implementing the strict portion control requirements on top of that can be too much of a burden to many people. However, some people said they were actually gaining weight when they were on a pure paleo regime. They started to lose more weight and feel better when they started doing the paleo diet on top of that.

As with any diet, you should consult with a nutritionist or physician before starting the zone-paleo diet. Although the diet has become pretty popular (especially among Crossfit trainers like my brother in law) it may not be for everyone. Some people like me are more glucose tolerant than others. You will need to consider your individual needs and experiment with what works for you. That being said, this sounds like a great diet to try out. Have any of you tried doing the paleo zone diet? What have your experiences been? We would all love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

About the author:

Adam Schlaeber is the cofounder of the Great Paleo Diet Cookbook blog. He shares a number of paleo recipes from excellent paleo chefs and discusses the benefits of primal living in the modern world.

The Paleo Approved Food Pyramid

The Paleo Food Pyramid

So what foods make up the paleo approved food pyramid?

I’ve touched on the paleo food pyramid before, but I feel that it should be more well known just how incorrect and dangerous the conventional, “government approved” food pyramid actually is.

For starters, lets take a look at some conventional “accepted” food pyramids:

As we can see from the above pyramid, grains, cereal and foods like rice are at the bottom. If you’ve come to understand how terrible grains are for the body and in particular the digestive system, then you’ll be shocked to know that the recommended serving size is 6-11 servings. I’m guessing that those servings are per day. It is no wonder why our kids are obese at schools, and why so many people suffer from conditions affecting their stomachs and digestive tract. This particular pyramid is the result of a quick google search.

Next, we have the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) recommended food pyramid:

As we can see, yet again, grains are the largest and therefore most important group. It is pretty terrifying to realise that this is what is peddled to all the organisations in America that promote “healthy eating”. It is these models that professionals, such as diatitians and nutritionalists build their client’s eating programs off of. Ridiculous if you ask me. What seems to always amaze me is that the topmost segment of the pyramid is almost always fats.

Here is another pyramid from Michegan University:

 

I like how this one is called “Healing Foods Pyramid”. What? At least this one has some vegetables in it, but why are meats so near the top? This one makes no sense at all. Anyway, you get the point, most “conventional” pyramids have the same basic premise of grains, vegetables and fruits at the bottom of the pyramid and meats and fats at the top. This is, as you may guess, completely opposite to paleo and primal eating principles.

Paleo Diet Food Pyramids

And on to greener pastures, so to speak, I present to you the paleo food pyramids. 

This is Mark Sisson’s updated food pyramid: 

paleo-primal-food-pyramid-mark-sisson-marksdailyapple

As we can see almost immediately, meats and foods like eggs are at the bottom of the primal/paleo pyramid. This is obviously wrong, right? Nope, this is the way food pyramids should look. Meats generally contribute to the majority of your caloric intake on a day to day basis, and vegetables are largely responsible for the other nutrients. Above that are fats, followed by fruits and other moderation foods and lastly herbs and spices.  Also included in the topmost segment of the pyramid are sensible indulgences.

Unfortunately, because the primal/paleo diet food pyramid is so different from other pyramids, or rather conventional pyramids, it would be a political and logistical nightmare to explain by authorities. Having said that, can you imagine if schools taught kids that this was the right way to eat? Kids would have more energy, focus and better body composition. This is the way it should be, yet will sadly not be the case in our lifetimes. Unfortunately, because during these fundamental years in a child’s nutritional development, the constant consumption of high carbohydrate foods programmes their genes to rely on carbohydrates. This programming makes changing to an ideal, fat burning body more difficult the older they get.

Originally, the paleo food pyramid had more of a focus on vegetables as a primary food source, followed by meats and animal proteins. This changed when Mark re-evaluated the food pyramid and where calories come from.

Originally, Mark’s food pyramid looked like the one below:

original-paleo-primal-food-pyramid-mark-sisson-marksdailyapple

 

So not much has changed really, however the updated version does have more information on it and is therefore my recommended, preferred reference tool. The swapping of vegetables and fruits with meat, fish, fowl and eggs is not serious, as both of these foods groups should be your primary foods that make up each meal. The simple balance between all of these beneficial food groups is what makes the paleo approved food pyramid so effective and powerful when applied properly.

Ultimately at the end of the day, the paleo food pyramid is a fantastic way of structuring your eating, and provides all the adequate nutrients to the body for healthy, happy and productive long lives. I have been applying paleo eating principles to my life for a long time now, and I’ll never not eat according to the paleo food pyramid. 

If you are interested in the primal life, why not subscribe!

Keep well, keep paleo!

Andrew

The 80/20 Rule: Living Paleo Realistically

Realistic Paleo Living

Traditionally, the media has pushed the idea that dieting and lifestyle changes should be applied 100% of the time to be effective. This isn’t necessarily true. Take for example body builders, these ultra hard working athletes frequently incorporate large calorie mounds in their diet to keep the body from dropping too low into a state of “survival mode”. While calorie binging isn’t really as effective as it might appear, it certainly proves that sticking to a diet 100% of the time isn’t necessary to reap its benefits.

Now, I’m not saying that you should intentionally stray from your paleo diet principles, however you should certainly not be waiting and ready to rap yourself over the knuckles when you don’t eat strict paleo. What you should try and achieve is a comfortable 80/20 ratio. If you eat healthy, grain free foods 80% of the time, you don’t need to worry about the other 20%.

So what makes up the other 20%? 

Within reason, anything you want. Having said that though, as you progress in your paleo lifestyle, your cravings will change and you will more than likely lose interest in foods you would have eaten if you weren’t enlightened by your inner caveman’s requirements. To explore what it is exactly that you have lost interest in, or in the case of gluten rich foods such as wheat, all you have to do is try them every once in a while. Personally, I’ve seen changes in my cravings across the board. Where I would have perhaps craved something like chocolate, I know crave roast vegetables. It sounds bizarre, and once you realise it it really is bizarre, but it is awesome as well.

I love the fact that I can eat as much of what I’m craving as I like and reap positive, not negative effects of said food. I enjoy great food, in large quantities, and I don’t feel guilty, ever.

Evil Delicious

Cheating, and not being a Nazi

Food Nazi’s aren’t the friends of anyone, so don’t become one. The whole point of letting go is, well, letting go. When you do rarely give in and allow your tastebuds to go crazy, do it properly. By doing this, you will more than likely get over the negative effects of these foods and lose interest in them almost entirely. You see, it’s really a double edged sword in your toolbelt. One side of the blade is allowing you to enjoy chocolates, cake and biscuits, and the other side follows through, swiftly showing why it is that you removed these bad foods from your diets in the first place.

If you follow a paleo eating philosophy 80 percent of the time, you don’t have to worry yourself with trivial things like ordering rice free sushi, and you could even enjoy some freshly baked bread every now and then. Although you’ll probably pay for it afterwards. Ultimately, it shouldn’t be your intention to make it known that you eat “differently”, not because you should hide the fact that you know what constitutes a healthy diet, but rather because its both taxing to you and others if you constantly promote the benefits of going grain free and living life through the loin cloth.

At the end of the day, embracing your inner caveman should be an experience of learning and adaptation. No one diet is perfect, but the paleo diet is pretty darn close. If you can stick to it 80 percent of the time, you’ll reap nearly all of the rewards. And if you want to go 100% hardcore paleo that’s fine as well. It’s all about balance, and it’s all about enjoying life the full.

So go out and remind yourself just how much you dislike cake, haha!

Keep well,
Andrew

Mark Sisson And The Paleo Diet

Who Is Mark Sisson?

Mark Sisson is a very influential, inspirational guy in the paleo and primal areas of health and healthy lifestyle. He owns and runs his own paleo and primal conforming supplement company, and has written several books. I personally have learnt a great deal from Mark, and have purchased a few of his products, including the highly acclaimed “Primal Blueprint”, and they are fantastic sources of information on nutrition, living according to primal paradigms and looking after your body. He has spoken at many events and is an integral part of PrimalCon, a primal nutrition and lifestyle orientated conference.

 Mark Sisson and Paleo

Mark Sisson’s relationship with paleo and primal lifestyle starts with his interest in the human body and how it performs in optimal condition. He was a particularly successful athlete during the 1970’s and 1980’s, having competed in multiple triathlons and finishing 4th in the 1982 IronMan World Championship triathlon. After exercise for many years had left his body tired and in some ways “worn out”, began to pursue his interest in optimal nutrition and body efficiency.

Sisson has qualifications in biology and was a pre-med candidate, this shows in his extensive knowledge of nutrition and why the body benefits from eating healthy, high quality foods. He acted on his ambition of finding out what the secrets to health were, and so began a journey of discovery that ultimately shaped one of the most influential people in diet and lifestyle today.

Mark Sisson’s “discovery” of the paleo way of eating came about when he discovered just how much medication people actually take in order to maintain their health. This saddening fact prompted him to draw on his extensive knowledge of nutrition and his past experience as an athlete in order to design a state of the art eating and exercise program. This product was not so much a diet as it was a lifestyle by design, and ultimately he wrote a book which has paved the way for many to reap a similar level of health success that Mark possesses.

Mark has a vision of helping 10 million people realise true health, and I certainly hope that he achieves that goal one day.

Click here for a great presentation by Mark at the 2010 21 Convention

That probably won’t stop Mark though, he’ll keep pushing on and helping people. Mark admits that he worked too hard as a mid twenty something, and ultimately pushed too hard in terms of training, so much so that in his own words “the wheels fell off”. He was however, intensely focused, and through that time he realised certain factors that contribute to living healthy and primal. He realised that he wasn’t eating correctly and needed to optimise and improve his diet. He began eating more fat and noticed improvements in his nutrition. 

Ironically, even though he has operated at such a high physical level he only discovered major paleo principles around a decade ago. He decided that after doing so much research, that cutting grains out of his diet was required. He went on a 30 day self initiated grain-free push, a push that fundamentally changed his life. His IBS that he had been dealing with for most of his life disappeared and he knew he was on to something.

He then went on to develop the Primal Blueprint after realising that humanity could benefit from an easy to interpret, easy to digest book on health and primal living. He understood that the average human would not easily interpret with some of the “controversial”. His book came in hard and brought about an awakening amongst both those interested in health and the general media.

Marksdailyapple.com

Mark founded marksdailyapple.com, and it has subsequently become one of the most viewed and revered health and fitness blog in the world. There are multiple articles that have been written over the years by Mark and other guest posters, and they are all about common questions people may ask about the paleo diet and how it affects their health, as well as very informative articles on science, “urban legend” and living as close to our genes as possible.

Mark has subsequently launched the marksdailyapple forums, and again, landed it big with the paleo community, with the forums now probably the most active forum on the Internet in the paleo/primal sphere. He has also launched one of his most impressive ventures in the form of his own supplement company.

He has also written a Primal Blueprint recipe book called The Primal Blueprint Cookbook, which is a great addition to the Primal Blueprint series. The book clears up the sorts of meals that you can expect to enjoy when following a primal/paleo lifestyle.

Who Mark Sisson is to me…

Mark is without a doubt the single most influential person in my life in terms of diet and how it affects  my lifestyle. I think that without him the paleo environment wouldn’t be where it is today, and I certainly wouldn’t have come as far as I have without his expert advice.

I would love to meet him one day and have a chat about life and what it would have been like to be a caveman. At the very least I’d just like to shake the man’s hand.

If you are interested in further reading what Mark Sisson has to teach, I strongly recommend buying his books.

Keep well, and thank you Mark Sisson!

Andrew.

The Paleo Diet and Celiac Disease

How can the paleo diet help those with celiac disease?

Firstly, let’s discuss what Celiac disease is

Celiac disease is a condition where in response to the consumption of foods that contain gluten, the intestinal walls become damaged. This damage prevents the intestines from absorbing nutrients properly, and ultimately causes (along with a state of chronic inflammation) nutritional deficiencies.

The exact cause of the disease is unknown. However, from a paleo standpoint, the likely culprit is probably the combination of gluten, lectins and anti-nutrients found in grains, or any food that contains the aforementioned substances. There is no point in life where an individual would be more or less likely to develop the condition. Everyone, of any age is susceptible.

People who have developed Celiac disease are more likely to develop additional conditions such as the following:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Down syndrome
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Intestinal lymphoma
  • Have lactose intolerance
  • Thyroid problems
  • Diabetes, specifically type 1

What are Celiac disease symptoms?

Due to the variations in symptoms from person to person, Celiac disease is often not diagnosed or considered right away during diagnosis.

Some of the gastrointestinal symptoms of Celiac disease are:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Constipation problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unnatural/unexplained weight loss
  • Depression
  • Nosebleeds
  • Hair loss
  • Poor weight gain
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Villi affected by Celiac disease

Diagnosis of Celiac disease:

Unfortunately, Celiac disease is currently incurable. However, it is treatable through dietary changes such as the paleo diet and the lifestyle it promotes, namely the complete removal of gluten. Diagnosis is only possible if you are currently experiencing symptoms, so don’t cut out gluten if you are currently undergoing diagnosis for Celiac disease. Having said that, nothing bad will come from totally removing gluten and grains from your diet. 

How Celiac disease can be treated with the paleo diet

The paleo diet involves the removal of almost all foods which contain gluten. Foods containing gluten are typically grains and the products they are used in such as bread. Similar to Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease has to do with inflammation and the immune response associated with it. The goal of Crohn’s and Celiac disease sufferers should be the termination of inflammation of the body, starting with the intestines.

This may sound like a difficult, and perhaps to some, impossible task to achieve. In reality though it is completely possible to remove inflammation from the intestines through diet. It seems like a logical, obvious choice to remove the cause of the problem from the equation. In this case it is gluten. However, from a holistic approach and perspective with regards to the diet, it is best to remove the offending food group entirely; grains.

Have a look at this case of how the paleo diet helped deal with Celiac disease.

How to get started on the paleo diet to help treat Celiac disease…

If you are ready to dive in to the magically healing world of paleo, sign up for our newsletter and receive your free copy of the 7 Step Paleo Fast Track Guide. In it, you will find all the information you need to align yourself with paleo principles that will help deal with Celiac disease symptoms safely and doctor’s medication free.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Andrew.

Crohn’s Treatment Diet: Treating Crohn’s Disease With Paleo

Could paleo principles be used as an effective Crohn’s treatment diet?

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohns disease is an inflammatory bowel disease which can affect any or all parts of the gastrointestinal tract. The disease essentially causes the body to attack its own intestinal wall cells because of a chronic state of inflammation. This action may result in a multitude of symptoms, including abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea and weight loss. Sufferers of the disease have also reported feeling exhausted constantly, being only able to stand for short periods, and having low strength.

Existing Crohn’s medications

Crohn’s disease is generally treated as an autoimmune disease, although recently it has been regarded as an immunodeficient state. Treatment usually consists of a combination of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Corticosteroids can also be administered depending on severity of inflammation. Due to the nature of steroid medications, they are not used to treat Crohn’s disease for the long term as they cause some severe side-effects.

Lifestyle changes are also prescribed to sufferers, such as the cessation of smoking, decrease in fiber intake and portion control. With regards to fatigue and exhaustion, exercise can help to maintain muscle strength and promote higher energy levels.

crohns-disease
Surgery unfortunately doesn’t help Crohn’s disease sufferers…

How paleo can help: A Crohn’s disease treatment that is natural

Because the paleo diet is focused on removing and recovering from diet-induced inflammation, it is particularly suited at providing an avenue of relief for Crohn’s disease sufferers. For starters, grains are highly inflammatory, and should be removed from the diet immediately. The aim of any Crohn’s disease sufferer should be to decrease the amount of inflammation they suffer from, and by removing inflammation-inducing foods from the diet this can be achieved relatively quickly. Because the paleo diet can be applied as a natural Crohn’s  disease treatment with no side effects, it has great long term prospects and requires no taking of medication to be effective.

The paleo diet focuses on proving the body with foods it evolved to eat. Grains, legumes, sugar and large amounts of carbohydrates are not good foods for the body. The largest offender in terms of causing inflammation here is without a doubt gluten and its partner in crime lectins. Gluten is a dangerous protein found in grains, and can cause inflammation of the intestines due to it globbing up and binding to the intestinal walls. This then promotes an immune system response, which basically causes the body to attack the infected tissue. As a Crohn’s disease sufferer, you are already predisposed to suffering from a similar state of the immune system attacking its own body, so eating gluten and lectin rich foods is like throwing napalm in a fire.

Unfortunately, many Crohn’s disease patients are advised by their doctors to continue eating grains and foods which contain gluten and lectins. This advice is terrible, and sufferers who manage to beat the initial bout of symptoms have these very same symptoms return once they are weaned off of medication. 

For an example of how the paleo diet helps Crohn’s disease sufferers, click here to read a story about a women who regained health after battling inflammation for four years.

Here is another article about how the paleo diet helps Crohn’s disease sufferers.

Take aways and what you can do right now

This article has covered how most people’s diets are not consistent and inflammatory free as they should be. We have spoken about the evils of glutens and lectins and have discussed how some people have managed to treat and ultimately rid themselves of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

If you would like to learn more about how the paleo diet and a paleo lifestyle could benefit you and your quest to rid yourself of Crohn’s disease, or if you would just like to get healthy in general, why not subscribe and receive the free 7 step paleo fast track guide. 

 

Keep well,

Andrew