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The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet Hardcover – CLV, September 14, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Asserting that "modern life causes diabetes, autoimmunity, cancer, neurodegeneration, and infertility," the first-time author Wolf, a former student of The Paleo Diet's Lauren Cordain, takes on grains, carbs, vegetarians, misinformation, and other aspects of modern life with a casual, conversational tone ("Keep your poop where it belongs") that makes even topics like the components of total cholesterol engaging. Wolf's scientific background allows him to fully explain hormones, fats, and the digestive process, and helps him put the fundamentals of evolutionary biology into accessible context. He argues that, in addition to dietary changes, a focus on the quality and duration of sleep and a fitness routine is needed, and photographs accompanied by detailed instructions guide readers through simple exercises. Recognizing the time crunch of modern life, Wolf's program is created to require minimum time and expense. While a grain-free, dairy-free diet may sound difficult to implement, he suggests a commitment-light 30-day trial and provides a four-week menu with simple recipes like Slow Cooker Pork Loin, Chicken Alfredo, and Pizza with a nut-based crust. An extensive list of references, primarily from peer-reviewed journals, lends credence to an intriguing argument.
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"I am a firm believer in The Paleo Solution. I maintain a hectic schedule that starts early and finishes late. Filming a television series, maintaining my fitness, and being a mom can be harrowing some days. Since adopting a Paleo way of eating I look and feel better, and I know that I am setting a good example for my daughter."—Eva La Rue, star of 'CSI: Miami'
"I've watched as The Paleo Solution healed people after medical professionals had given up. Whether you're an athlete, or simply uninterested in becoming a health care statistic—there are no more excuses! Now you will finally look, feel, and perform as well as your genes will allow. Robb Wolf changed my life, and he's about to change yours too."—Kyle Maynard, author of No Excuses and 2004 ESPY Award winner
"Robb Wolf and The Paleo Solution have changed the way I look at diet and nutrition. He's helped me understand just how critical diet and sleep can be to your overall health and life."—Forrest Griffin, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and author of the bestselling Got Fight?
"They say the worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it. The Paleo Solution's value is far reaching for the knowledge that it offers. Robb has taken a unique approach to health and lifestyle that will help countless people."—John Welbourn, 10-Year NFL Veteran
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
Both of us are slender, and have never been on a diet. So, I don't recall what led me to buy this book, I'm just glad something did. I found myself loading my cart at Costco with a ton of meat and removing all grains and dairy from my kitchen thinking, "Is this my version of a mid-life crisis?" I have always been a huge (what I thought were healthy) grain and dairy consumer.
The things we've noticed--No more irritable bowel for one person in the house who has had it all his life. No more constipation for the other whose had it all her life. Annoying seborrhea dermatitis all my life--gone. Bloating I thought just came with middle age, gone. Energy for both of us, UP. Sleep is much better. No longer waking up achy.
Caffeine works again. No longer just drinking it to avoid a headache, it was no longer working to help pep me up that's for sure. Now, I'm at half the coffee intake with twice the energy. We both found we were slumming around the house looking for something to eat about two hours after a meal, not so much anymore.
Some people might find his style annoying. I found it more conversational. And he has been saying these things over and over for years. Just like we do with our patients. So I identified with the tone and didn't take it as condescending or annoying. The info was too good. And bottom line, he's right, just try it for 30 days, then judge. We read the book and took about two weeks of prep before we took off with it. I would say don't do this during a time when you are going to be out of town, give yourself the full month to feel the effects. Yes, Paleo is a lot of work initially, but we feel so amazing it is a labor of love now.
He does have a great pancake recipe but I add 1/2 tsp baking soda and they puff a bit more (more kiddo friendly for our munchkin)
He has a grocery list on his website for each week of recipes. I missed it first read through and then found it. This REALLY needs to be in the next book.
We marched through the first two weeks adhering to his menu, then we started exploring recipes in Well Fed and Everyday Paleo.
Cost-wise, I'd say we are at a wash. Spending more on food at home, but not going out or convenience calling for delivery at all. We now go out once a week at a Paleo easy place to order for Sunday brunch. That is also the day we do our cook-up for the week (the Well Fed cookbook by Melissa Joulwan is invaluable for methods and how to cook-up. Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso is another must have for starters)
I don't really see us going back and it has been easier than I thought. I walked past the bakery the other day, wondering if I was going to have a cheat moment--nope, didn't even look good. That is almost unbelievable to me (I love donuts). It is amazing how quickly our taste buds have adapted to good food. We are believers.
I appreciate Robb Wolf's background in science and athletics in my opinion it gives an author a lot of credibility to be able to say they have personally done the research (or can thoroughly understand other's), applied it, and show the unfiltered results. Match that up with a very conversational tone and it makes for an easy informative read most can appreciate. Keep an open mind and take your health back.