on April 21, 2012
This is the best diet book I have ever read, and I lost 44 pounds following it.
This book takes the low carb approach made popular by Dr.Atkins and perfects it. I originally started on Atkins and eventually changed my diet according to what I always thought was common sense - For example - While staying under 30 carbs a day I added 2 servings of fruit, ate lots of fatty fish (only wild caught), eliminated processed meats (e.g.: bacon, cold cuts) and replaced them with GRASS FED, naturally raised meats while restricting my calories. Add in some interval workouts, get plenty of sleep, try not to get too stressed and BAM - the weight comes off! Little did I know I was following a Paleo lifestyle!
Robb's book brought a lot of what I already suspected into focus and taught me A LOT about WHY eating paleo works. He cites both anthropological and biochemical evidence to support the plan in an easy to understand, fun read. I read this book mostly while sitting on the can (where I do all of my quality studying), and I did it in two days! My legs fell asleep three times - it's that good!
I never bother to write reviews, but I thought this book was worth it.
MY ADVICE TO YOU, Dear Reader, if you want to lose weight, reduce inflammation and FEEL better is to follow the following rules after you have read Robb's book:
1. FAT will help you lose weight faster than protein, carbs or alcohol. Even though fat is 9 calories per gram, there have been many studies that prove that a 1500 calorie per day consumption of fat will shed weight faster than 1500 calories of protein or carbs. I know this to be true from personal experience. Fat is GOOD for you. Yes, even SATURATED fat, as long as it is from a natural source - no GMO's or anything processed. Just keep in mind that you still have to watch your overall calorie intake. If you eat 5 rib steaks every night, you won't lose weight. Make at least 50% of your calories from FAT. Go ahead and eat that chicken skin!
2. The only carbs you eat should be from fruits, nuts and vegetables, and they should be organic whenever possible. No grain, no pasta, no rice, no sugar, no way. If you are overweight, keep your fruit to one or two servings daily. Avoid excessive dairy. This will reduce chronic inflammation in your body, which is the root cause of most autoimmune diseases today and a major factor on poor health and weight gain (as explained very clearly in Robb's book). Reducing carbs will also help restore your body's sensitivity to both insulin and leptin, two key hormones tied to energy storage and utilization.
2a.: Note on Leptin: Leptin is the master hormone in your body that controls ENERGY. It is mostly produced in the fat cells, and one of it's functions is to tell your hypothalamus when you are full. It stands to reason that if you have a lot of fat, a lot of leptin is being sent to the brain to tell you to stop eating, right? In a fit person, yes - but in an overweight person over time the brain (and muscles) become leptin resistant. This means that the brain stops listening to the leptin and doesn't know to stop eating. This is analogous to how type 2 diabetics develop insulin resistance from chronically over producing insulin. You need to "RESET" your leptin receptors so that your brain starts listening to the "Stop eating" signal. This is a very new idea in that leptin was only discovered in 1995. You can find more information on this by looking into Dr. Jack Kruse, the neurosurgeon who is pioneering the notion that increasing leptin sensitivity is the key to weight loss.
3. Eat a big breakfast with lots of protein. It is universally accepted that eating breakfast is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, why not make it a big one that keeps you going throughout the day. The protein will satiate you through lunch as well.
4. Meats should be naturally raised organic. Beef should be grass fed, eggs should be free range, and fish should be wild caught.
5. Consume 3 grams of omega 3 fish oil every day. A can of sardines or some wild salmon should do the trick. Your mood will improve, along with your thinking and everything else. Omega 3 fish oil has been PROVEN to transform the small, high density form of LDL cholesterol (which damages your arteries) to the soft fluffy (safe) variety of LDL. If you don't like fish and want to supplement - read the labels. A lot of "MEGA" omega three pills only have 300 mg of actual epa/dha. You would have to swallow ten of those softgels to get the same amount of omega three found in ONE can of cold water sardines! It's better to get it in food form anyway. Note: GRASS FED beef contains omega 3, corn fed beef does not; WILD salmon contains omega 3, farm raised contains far less omega 3 and it is less absorbable. Also note: Omega 3 oil is one of the best things you can put into your body to reduce chronic inflammation.
6. Keep it under 1500-1800 calories a day. No matter what you eat, if you eat too much you will never lose weight. Besides, if you are eating protein and fat, you won't be nearly as hungry and this restriction will happen naturally.
7. Lay off alcohol. Drink wine if you have to, but keep it to two glasses or less. Alcohol will postpone fat loss while it is being processed by your body, plus it can cause a spike in insulin which will give you hunger cravings. Personally for me, alcohol is the trigger that makes me run for the pizza and wings. Stay away if you can! You will find that you will feel very different after a drink once you start eating low carb anyway - the effect won't be as pleasant. Stay the hell away from beer! That's liquid bread!
8. Limit caffeine. Caffeine can screw up your insulin levels too. Remember - if insulin is high, you CAN'T BURN FAT. You must reduce your blood insulin levels. If you need the coffee (like I do), keep it to one or two cups in the morning, no sugar!
9. Dump the diet drinks or anything with artificial sweeteners. Stop putting chemicals in your body! That stuff is toxic! Not to mention that all of those sugar substitutes can spike insulin as well. Do this for a few weeks and then try a diet soda and you'll see how awful that fake stuff really tastes.
10. DRINK LOADS of PURE, FILTERED WATER! I recommend investing in a reverse osmosis filtration system. 12 glasses a day - you are going to need it to flush out all the toxins you will be shedding. Remember - toxins are stored in fat cells.
11. SLEEP 8 straight hours every night. Shut the T.V. off! This is when your body heals. Your hormones will balance out, your leptin sensitivity will return, your stress will be reduced and you will feel better and lose weight faster if you get enough QUALITY, uninterrupted sleep.
12. STOP GRAZING! I always knew this theory of "Eating 6 small meals a day to keep your metabolism from slowing down" was bull. Eat three meals a day and don't snack - this will help you to reset your leptin receptors. Give your liver and digestive system a break, you'll feel better. Intermittent fasting is natural and good for you. It has been PROVEN that animals who consume fewer calories live longer. You can offset any metabolic slow down with moderate exercise.
12. Workout every day for 30 minutes minimum. Warm up with a little cardio, and switch to body-weight or weight bearing exercises. Too much cardio is NOT GOOD FOR YOU! See Kevin Richardson's website and book on this. Remember - the heart and lungs serve the muscles, not the other way around. If you focus more on FULL body, COMPOUND movements you will see better results. Example: 20 minutes on treadmill to warm up and get the blood flowing followed by: pull ups, push ups, rows, overhead presses, deadlifts, squats and some core exerciese (crunches etc..). Use natural movements that employ more than one joint and more than one muscle group. Make sure that you are sweating for at least 20 minutes to help get rid of all those toxins! Sweating is GOOD!
13. Do no eat 4 hours before bed. This is a great idea - you will sleep more soundly if your body isn't working hard to digest dinner. This is another way to help reset your leptin sensitivity.
14. As for the carb bingers out there (I am one of them), remember that refined carbohydrates are addictive. Years ago, I sucked on two packs of Newports a day and was able to quit. That was child's play compared to skipping the bread. There is no denying the highly addictive nature of refined, processed foods and the only way to break an addiction is to remove it completely. Make no mistake, refined carbohydrates are insidious and will kill you just as surely as smoking will - probably faster. You must defeat this addiction. Don't even think of refined starch as food, because it is not. It is poison. Once you get through the first 30 days you're home free. If you fall off the wagon, don't let that be an excuse to quit! Go to the gym, burn off that sugar and get right back on the plan!
15. Lastly - there are a lot of "Don'ts" here. In order to successfully change your lifestyle you must change your mind. When you deny yourself things that you want (like the pizza), your mind can interpret this as "loss." By depriving yourself of the high carb foods that you have been accustomed to, your body may react to this loss in the same way it would have reacted 5000 years ago when food was scarce - with stress. This body equates this stress to fear of starvation, and reacts by retaining as much energy (calories) as possible. There is a real physiologic response to the "stress" of dieting.
You must change your mindset in order to minimize this feeling of loss. Convince yourself that eating this way is "SAFE," and try only to focus on how good you feel when doing so. Also, distract yourself from the feeling of loss by introducing something positive in your life. My recommendation: Take up a hobby at the same time you begin restricting carbs. Find something that you love to do and make it your business to do it. Being happy and content with life will make it much easier to lose weight. Fill your spare time doing something you enjoy and distract your sub conscience from what it is being denied. Be fulfilled with something other than food. Change your mindset, strengthen your body and SUCCEED!
on September 14, 2010
Let me begin by saying that I have always been a healthy person--or at least that is what I thought. Since I was fourteen, I went to the gym almost every day and ate foods that I thought were good for me. Around the age of thirty I got super busy. Although I still worked out and ate foods that I had been told were healthy, I didn't sleep as much, stressed a whole lot more, and things began to go down hill. I developed a fairly good-sized tire around my midsection. The color of my skin was a little off. And, most importantly, I no longer felt super healthy. I tried everything I could thing of, which basically boiled down to eating less of the foods I had been told were healthy. I ate a ton of lean meats, and I combined them with a ton of carbs in the form of rice. I cut out every ounce of fat I possible could. And guess what? I started to feel (and look) even worse. In an attempt to correct the situation, I began working out even harder. Although I got stronger and gained more muscle, I still had that tire of fat around the midsection and had very little energy on most days. Was I just getting old? Were the good old days of being fit and healthy gone for good?
A friend of mine had been following Robb's teachings for some time, and he turned me on to the diet. As with most people who learned "nutrition" in college, I was highly resistant. I mean, why would they be teaching us the wrong nutrition in college. The professors seemed pretty smart, and I doubted that they had the goal of trying to kill me. But I was failing with the traditional way of thought, and so I decided it to give the thirty days. My friend told me that Robb preached the "give me 30 days" philosophy, and so that is what I decided to give this new and strange diet, which I still doubted would ever work. Well, thirty days later I had dropped TWENTY SIX POUNDS. Am I joking about that number--absolutely not. A part of it had to do with the fact that I was working out a whole lot more--but the only reason I could work out more is because I was feeling so GOOD. How good? Well, to be quite honest, I was feeling like I did back when I was eighteen (well, maybe not eighteen, but twenty one for sure.)
Now a year and a half later, I feel better than ever. That twenty six pounds of weight loss not only did not come back on, but it turned into thirty pounds of weight less (and yes, I needed to drop thirty pounds.) Just like Wolf's slogan, I LOOK, FEEL, AND PERFORM better than I ever thought imaginable. For someone who has always prided himself on being fit, healthy, and happy, I can honestly say I owe Wolf the world. His teachings have convinced me that getting older does not mean getting fatter, sicker, and less happy. Will you be eighteen for the rest of your life if you take Wolf's 30-day challenge and then adopt a Paleo lifestyle--no, probably not. But you most certainly won't be 40 or 50 or 60. You will look younger than you are, feel younger than you are, and be happy in your skin. Honestly, I don't see how you can put a price tag on that.
What about the sacrifices? This is the big one, right. Well, I have been on diets before, and this is not a diet. It is a lifestyle. And when you get that "diet" word out of your head, restricting certain foods becomes a lot less challenging. Trust me when I tell you that I was a guy who LOVED my bread and wheat beer. But you must also trust me when I tell you that I do not miss these delicious products in the slightest. . .Wolf's lifestyle plan puts you in much better contact with your body, and when you acquire that mindset, things that make your body feel, perform, and look better begin to taste better. Foods I used to despise now taste wonderful. And the foods that I once could not have lived without (bread, rice, pasta) are now the farthest thing from my mind. I've talked with other people on the Paleo diet, and many of them have told me that when they cheat, they can feel the negative effects immediately. Personally, I think I may have cheated on the diet twice in a over a year. Is it because I am super strong willed. Absolutely not. When it comes to will power, I don't think I have that much of it. The reason that I haven't cheated is because I simply don't want to cheat. When I smell the foods I once loved, I no longer have the urge to consume them. Did this take fun out of my life? Did this destroy the thrill of eating and socializing over a tasty meal? Actually, the opposite has happened. I actually enjoy eating a whole lot more because it makes me feel powerful, just like food should. It makes me feel strong, both mentally and physically. And despite what some people will believe, eating healthy does not destroy your social life. All it may do is add some interesting conversations into the mix.
In conclusion, try the Paleo Solution. it works. It works well. And it will change your life in ways you can not imagine. I know change is scary for a lot of people (it was for me), but when the changes you make break the barriers of what you thought life could be, you won't regret it!
I know, you have tried every type of diet and nothing has worked, and it's been that way for years, and always you wonder why? What the Paleo people have done is taken everything we know about health, fitness, dieting, nutrition and turned it on its head. It's because they have gone back to the beginning of man's existence, looked at his surroundings and figured out exactly how we have been genetically programmed to live. Just think about it, our ancestors go back 7 million years, and most researchers believe that our genetic systems haven't changed in at least 200,000 of those years.
This means that if you took a child born 200,000 years ago and instantly brought him to our day and age, that child would grow up just like any other child. The reverse is also true. Geneticists have also found by studying bones and so forth that mankind 200,000 years ago did not suffer from heart attacks, diabetes, and certainly not obesity. A lion or other predator would have had an easy and quick meal of anyone who was overweight and could not run for his life.
Author Robb Wolf was a research biochemist who went on to become a strength coach and what this tells you is that the whole book is basically a guide written by a coach to tell his clients how to understand and institute a Paleo diet and lifestyle, and the job Wolf does is EXCELLENT. This is probably the best Paleo book on the market for everyday use as opposed to a theoretical exercise. In this book you will learn:
* Why INSULIN dysregulation is the key to everything!
* Why our body's system is CONFUSED and BROKEN in our modern world.
* Why the French, Spanish, and Greeks consume more fats then we do and yet are healthier.
* You need to control the CARBS to control the INSULIN.
* How to protect ourselves from Blood Sugar CRASHES.
* Grains (breads, pastas) raise our Insulin levels and wreak havoc on our systems.
* SLEEP, the most beautiful gift nature gives to us.
* Why we can handle ACUTE but not CHRONIC stress.
* Do you own your THINGS, or do your THINGS OWN YOU?
You need to think of this book as a manual for the Paleo lifestyle. It is that good. When Wolf talks about exercise, he gives you scores of pages about exercise with easy to follow photographs of the correct way to do them, because words cannot describe exercises in sufficient detail to replicate them. He gives you 40 pages of foods and the details for each recipe that he writes about. Nothing is left to chance. There is a 3 day meal plan, a 2 week meal plan, and a 30 day meal plan, all covered in detail.
He teaches you how to shop and what you should be buying in the stores including discussions about olive oil for salads versus cooking. You want fish; well Wolf tells you how to buy wild fish like shrimp, mussels, claims, sardines, mackerel, pacific salmon, and others. He tells us we are designed to eat meat, poultry, and seafood.
I was particularly pleased with his discussion of vitamins and supplements. The problem with most of them is that what it says on the bottle is not what is inside the bottle. The whole industry is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and not the Food and Drug Administration. If you went out and bought 50 different bottles of vitamins by 50 different manufacturers, and tested the contents in the laboratory, only in a handful of bottles would you find that the contents of the bottle matches the label. In addition, nowhere in prehistoric times did the cave man have access to such concentrated vitamin sources so our systems are not used to them - be careful.
In The Paleo Solution, Wolf gives us 288 pages of interesting, no nonsense narrative, followed by 30 pages of references. There is no index. My recommendation to you is that you read this book with a pen in your hand. When you find something that is important to YOU, then annotate it, and write the reference and page number on a blank page in the back. In other words make up your own index. This book will change your life, and the way you think about your life. If you suffer from stress, diabetes, heart disease or any one of a dozen other maladies then Paleo may be for you. Since nothing else has seemed to work, maybe trying something different is the way to go. Good luck and thank you for reading this review.
Richard C. Stoyeck
on June 25, 2013
I really did not like this book at all. I would recommend "The Primal Blueprint" instead, if you are looking for a book on this topic. If you want to read the best account of nutrition science and research, then get "Good Calories Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes, or Taubes' other, shorter book "Why We Get Fat" for a lighter but still outstanding discussion. I would also highly recommend the paleo/primal approach to eating, just not this particular book. Both I and my spouse have had fantastic health results using generally primal meals and fitness plans. Criticisms of this book: First, the author uses the phrase "lean meat" when he talks about meat. This reduced his credibilty for me very quickly. The primary idea behind paleo/primal eating is that we eat whole foods, in their natural state, as the earth provided them, and that includes ample amounts of meat with all the fat it naturally comes with. Second, I object to the writing approach in which the author uses the word "frack" constantly and addresses the reader in a derisive tone, using the word "Buttercup." As in statements similar to, "What the frack can I eat" and "Buttercup, if you eat this and not that you are making a mistake." If you like that kind of style, you may really like this book. To me it's just unprofessional and poor, unpleasant writing. In addition the author is overly pre-occupied with writing many sections simply detailing his own self-promotion of various kinds. Good grief.
on October 29, 2010
About five months ago, I started doing CrossFit (an exercise program/gym). The coach explained the Paleo diet model and suggested this book. It took me almost five months before I read it, but prior to reading I had pretty much adopted a Paleo diet, which completely changed my life. I mean, really changed my whole experience. I used to be a vegan (six years ago for four years), but then my hair started thinning and that was the end of that, so I started incorporating fish and eggs, and a little dairy. But I was still almost always hungry, and it seemed no matter what exercise I did, or how much, it wasn't ever really getting me to where I wanted to be, even though I thought I was eating super healthy. I also drank a lot of wine, which interfered with my sleeping. All in all my digestion wasn't so good. I felt my health slowly and steadily declining. So, long story short, when I started CrossFit I decided to give this Paleo diet a try. Amazing results! Never felt better, my blood sugar is even and steady all day long, and my sleep is restorative not something to "get through"; not to mention, my body is rockin'! I don't crave sugar, which is a miracle, and I hardly drink anymore. Why? Because I feel so good, I have no desire to mess that up. Me, a wino, yes, giving up wine. For once in my life, I'm lean, I'm stronger than I've ever been, and I feel certain solidity to my being. I never thought it possible. So then I bought Paleo Solution, because I'm thinking, "I gotta learn why this diet works so well. What's up with this Paleo stuff? I want to tell the world about it!" I was skeptical about the read, despite my great results in trying out this lifestyle. Books on diet and health can sometimes be boring, daunting, and uninspiring. Right? How many books have you bought, hoping to find the thing you were looking for, only to quit reading it half way through? Robb Wolf has assembled an incredible amount of information into one book, and he's presented it in a simple way. He's also got a great voice -- a great sense of humor -- and it feels like he's talking directly to you. I liked this. It felt personable and it was engaging. Plus, I was understanding all this scientific information, (and I'm not scientifically oriented at all), which when all put together into the bigger picture was like "WHOA!". (It was more like a holy you know what). So here's the skinny: If you are suffering from diabetes, a heart condition, high blood pressure, an auto-immune disease, indigestion, cancer, a sugar or alcohol addiction, or pretty much any illness; or, you are an athlete seeking greater performance, or you're wanting to loose weight and look and feel fabulous and incredible, then you MUST read this book! It's quick, it's easy, informative, it's entertaining, and it will change your life like it did mine. That is, if you're willing to give it a try. And for those of you who are vegetarian, or concerned about industrialized farming and general slaughtering practices, I suggest you check out eatwild on the internet to find out where you can get grass-fed animal directly from sustainable farms in your local area. READ THIS BOOK, for your health, and for the health of your family. Thank you, Robb Wolf!
on December 16, 2010
I was introduced to the Paleo Solution by a trainer and good friend of mine after I had my second baby this year. I had always complained in the past about being so tired all the time. I could never get enough sleep, never mind stay focused for a full day at work. Suddenly, being a full time mom and working full time were starting to burn me out. I worked out regularly using kettlebells and jogging, but plateaued from exhaustion all the time. Since I have always been active, I didn't need to lose a ton of weight (maybe 15 pounds), but let's just say my comfort clothes were no longer very flattering and I still kept all my skinny clothes from back in the day hoping that I would fit back into them at some point.
She suggested that I try the Paleo Solution. I was VERY skeptical at first because I love candy. No, really, I do and having to give it up was just silly.....out of the question! She challenged me to 30 days and I love challenges so I agreed. Was I 100% Paleo for the first 30 days? No.... probably 90%, but that 90% helped me gain back the energy that I had lost. I never thought I would ever blame complex carbs/gluten for it, but I know now that cutting it all out has made a gigantic difference in my life and if I cheat and have that Twix bar, boy do I feel the exhaustion set in-and you know what? It doesn't taste nearly as good as it used to. I would much rather pig out on bacon or coconut now!
And about that 15 pounds, not necessarily gone... I only probably lost 7-8, but I have gone down four sizes with the muscle tone that I have built up over the last 2 months of being on this diet (Excuse me, not diet, lifestyle change). And its not bulky muscle either; its lean, toned, beautiful muscle that I plan on strutting around on the beach next Summer. I look better now that I did in my early 20s and yes, that was a while ago! Now even my skinny clothes are flattering. I have never looked or felt better. I am NEVER going back! I recommend the Paleo Solution to anyone that wants to feel good and look their best! Thank you Robb!
When Professor Loren Cordain released The Paleo Diet in December 2002 introducing Paleolithic low-carb nutrition and fitness concepts in a way that seemed to make sense to a lot of people for the first time in their lives, it was the proverbial first step forward in bringing about the necessary changes to effectively deal with the very real health problems of obesity and chronic disease. Little did Dr. Cordain know back then when his "caveman diet" (as the media dubbed it) was getting so much attention as a revolutionary concept taking us back to the days of our hunter-gatherer ancestors that he would be grooming a whole new generation of primal living enthusiasts who would take the baton from him and run with it like sprinter Michael Johnson did in his golden shoes during the Summer Olympics in the 1990s! But that's exactly what we're seeing happen from up-and-coming voices of reason like Cordain disciple Robb Wolf who has been doing his part both writing and podcasting about Paleo nutrition over the past few years and now he's ready to take up the mantle that Dr. Cordain started and take it to a whole new audience of people who are ready to change their lives with the highly-awaited release of The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet.
Wolf is a very well-respected and knowledgeable research-biochemist-turned-strength-trainer who has a real knack for making complex nutritional and fitness principles palatable for us common folks. There are no frills with Robb Wolf because he allows the results he has seen in his clients speak for themselves. He speaks authoritatively because he knows the truths of what he is sharing and is unwavering in his application of those basic principles. You'd never know he used to be a vegetarian in his former life that nearly ruined his health all in the name of being healthy the "right" way. All of that changed when Robb became exposed to the work of Art DeVany and then eventually Dr. Cordain and Drs. Mike & Mary Dan Eades who all made ancestral eating sound...well, normal. And despite a less-than-enthusiastic response from his doctor about Paleolithic eating (describing it as "pseudo science"), Wolf gave it a go and saw some pretty spectacular results-lower blood pressure, improved lipids, and a whole new perspective on what living healthy is really all about. The fire inside of Robb Wolf was lit and nothing was going to extinguish it!
That enthusiasm for this way of living has been shared with client after client for most of the past decade with equally impressive results. You get to meet some of these "success stories" throughout The Paleo Solution to show you that literally anyone and everyone can benefit from a Paleo lifestyle change. All it takes is a willingness to give it a go for at least 30 days to see how you do. And while it may be an easy transition for some and the most brutally difficult thing for others to do, Wolf provides all the necessary tools for you to be successful and thrive on what he calls "the original human diet." I love it when he shares that his only motivation for writing this book is this: "I'm trying to save your life." With integrity and sincerity in page after page of this book, you can tell he takes this mission seriously and has the right motivation for sharing with others all the information he has gathered over the years.
If you think a book about Paleo dieting is gonna be drab, dry, and completely boring, then you haven't encountered Robb Wolf yet. This guy could be a stand-up comedian if he wanted to be and that acerbic wit shines brightly throughout this book. You'll appreciate that he doesn't blame you for failing on your high-carb, low-fat diet either. The re-education process may take some time, but it will be well worth the effort when you are finished. Unfortunately, lipophobia still reigns supreme amongst the so-called health "experts" of our day but it's 100% dead wrong as a culprit in the obesity and disease crisis we now face in the 21st Century. And citations of the research that has been conducted on the nutrient-dense diet of HGs (hunter-gatherers) has proved as much and more-these people not only survived, but their health thrived on way of eating that is routinely mocked and scorned as "unhealthy" nowadays. How much more bassackwards nutritionally can we get pushing grains as "healthy" and scaring people half to death of eating a steak? If you believe that mumbo-jumbo from your "trusted" doctor, dietitian, or other health nincompoop, then you absolutely need to read The Paleo Solution!
The brilliance of Robb Wolf is in how he strips everything down to easy-to-understand chunks while still maintaining the context of the greater concepts. You can tell he takes great pains to keep from going over your head and yet he delves into this all-important information because it's stuff you need to know about. From defining commonly-used diet terms like protein, carbohydrates, and fats to explaining the purpose of hormones like insulin, glucagon, leptin, cortisol, and ghrelin, you'll feel like you earned a graduate degree in nutritional health without sitting through a semester of boring lectures and spending umpteen thousands of dollars on your education. You'll get it all in this book that costs about the same as a cheap-o meal for two at Ruby Tuesday! But the lasting impact it will make on your life will endure much longer than those Baby Back Ribs will!
My favorite chapter is Chapter 4 on "Digestion" because it shows you exactly what happens when you consume food. From the "Big Picture" which gives you a quick synopsis to what specifically happens to the protein, carbs, and fat consumed, this was a really cool word illustration for people who haven't got a clue about what that food is doing inside of them once it is swallowed. You get to follow a meal of salmon, avocado, and fruit salad as it travels from the mouth down to the stomach through the small intestines and then to poop. Yummy! Additionally, Wolf illuminates the differences between "Normal Eating," a "Fasted State," and an "Overfed State" so you can see the biochemical uniqueness of each situation on the body. And everyone likes a good rant every once in a while-don't miss the one about "essential carbohydrates" on page 66!
Various health issues like high cholesterol, heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, infertility, and more are talked about candidly and the underlying issue that is driving these (again, it ain't the dietary fat people as you'll clearly find out in Chapter 7!). The anatomy of a grain and the toxicity of consuming them is explained as only Robb Wolf can. Discover why sleep is so important for regulating cortisol and the essential exercise you need to be doing (with illustrations in this book!) to be successful at this. In case you didn't quite understand everything through the first nine chapters, he shows you how to implement The Paleo Solution principles in Chapter 10 with practical advice for shopping for the highest-quality foods that are grass-fed, pastured, and the like and he answers your most pressing issues about switching to Paleo. You are encouraged to track your progress with specific measurements and blood tests to see exactly what kind of changes will happen to you when you do this. And in case you're wondering, there are some delicious meal plans and simple recipes to get you going in Chapter 12. Although he's not a big fan of taking supplements, Robb does believe there are benefits to targeting specific ones which he discusses in Chapter 13. Lest you think all of this Paleo stuff is just sugar-free pie in the sky, you'll see this book is well-referenced in the back with studies and papers from some of the top medical journals and researchers in the business.
The Paleo Solution ain't no fluff diet book that will promise you more than it can deliver. It's an honest-to-goodness lifestyle change that can make a real difference in your weight and health if you are willing to give it a chance to work for you. It took a while for Robb Wolf to make his foray into the publishing world, but I for one am glad he did because, like Dr. Cordain before him, he is now influencing a new generation of Paleo believers who will take the baton from him someday to carry on the message. But something tells me we're gonna be hearing a lot more from Robb Wolf in the years to come!
on October 26, 2010
Been following this devoutly for one month now and have never felt better. Waking up each morning with a renewed fervour, an abundance of energy and optimism I've never possessed (well not since I was a child!). Can't recommend enough.
While I think the paleo diet is far, far better than what most Americans eat, this book is disappointing in several ways.
I have been studing alternative diets for a while - Weston Price and Paleo - although I was just as healthy as a vegetarian. As I've got older, though, I've put on weight, and radically reducing grain has been great for weight control.
However, this book, while it includes science, seems to dumb it down and is apologetic about it; and there's a general cutsey attitude that puts me off. I've gotten better information on the science by reading various blogs in and out of the paleo community.
The issue of grass-fed organic vs. commerically-raised grain-finished is treated as a minor point, which is odd when so many other issues are trumpeted. The book does recommend the grass-fed organic, but in other places it treats meat as meat, not as distinct food types. My understanding is that the fatty acid profiles of grainfed meat are a key problem with SAM.
Phytates in grains are treated as bad, without considering soaking or fermenting, but spinach is also high in phytates and oxaltes, and this is not mentioned at all. It leaves me unconvinced about the issues of eating grains vs. eating, for example, spinach. I am also rather suprised to see millet on the list of grains that include gluten, since I've always seen it listed as gluten free. Possibly one of the bibliographical citations include details, but there's no way to know which of the 65 citations for that chapter might be the one.
It also does not discuss the issues of other paleo-disapproved foods, such as potatoes, peanuts, and beans, or even dairy. I was hoping to find nutritional science behind not including these food items while including other food items.
And another complaint: there's no index!
These points and complaints are probably minor in the big picture, I think overall the book is pretty decent and it's kind of engaging, like an overethusiastic friend.
on October 3, 2010
I always considered myself "healthy" - having been athletically active and with reasonably good blood-work and body weight markers all my life. But after I turned 30 years old 6 months ago, with 9 years of highly stressful desk-jockey jobs behind me; I realized I had slowly accumulated a number of afflictions that could be considered part of normal "aging":
- joint pain & arthritis (in my knee)
- hair loss
- muscle & strength loss
- slow build-up of spare-tire around my mid-section
- allergies (to something new every few years)
- canker sores
- disrupted sleep
- chronic tiredness, leading to increased caffeine consumption
- a growing sweet tooth
- gum pain
After doing some basic research on arthritis, I came across the concept of the ancestral diet, primarily through the internet. However, having trained with a scientific background, I was highly skeptical of many of the stunning claims despite all the testimonials.
Of all the different recognized experts in the arena, it was Robb Wolf's scientific explanations (through his website and his podcast) given freely (with no hidden financial agenda or sketchy corporate relationships) that convinced me to give the ancestral diet a try.
I have since never looked back.. all the above afflictions disappeared in a few months, and I now am healthier, fitter, stronger, leaner, sharper and more pain-free than I have been in 15 years.
I owe Robb and his compatriots in the field a huge debt.
However, I have struggled to explain the concepts to others. This is why I am excited about Robb's book!
The Paleo Solution brings the right amount of scientific background, complete with associated reference material, while maintaining a conversational, engaging tone. It covers all the right bases of a hugely complex subject (the key apocalyptic "horsemen" of the Standard American Diet) from the perspectives of anthropology (ancestral history), biochemistry, nutrition and actual clinical practice. It scares the reader, while at the same time providing the right solutions and motivation, with enough hope and optimism.
If asked to bring someone up to speed on the concept of the ancestral diet, I would absolutely recommend this book as the perfect start!!
If you've ever been confused by "expert" dietary recommendations (This food is poison! No it's actually good for you! All fat is bad except fat is good from fish or avocados! Have whole grains! Don't have eggs! Have eggs! You need vitamins! Vitamins don't work! etc etc bla bla) and wanted EVERYTHING to just make sense for once - read this book. Even if it's just from a robust scientific perspective, and you don't enact the actual diet, you'll never look back.