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on December 18, 2011
When I was in engineering school there were some professors who were very, very smart but they were lousy teachers. There were also professors who did an excellent job of teaching and they made teaching look easy. Loren Cordain is an excellent teacher. I've read two of his books, now. His books have significantly more technical detail than any other book I've read on nutrition (I've read dozens) and yet it's all VERY easy to understand. It seems that every popular book on nutrition contains some testimonials and I'd like to share my own testimonial.

I read Loren Cordain's first book, "The Paleo Diet" in 2004. I started following the diet right away and lost weight. Then I got lazy and went back to eating the standard American diet (SAD). In 2007 I had blood work done and my doctor alerted me to the fact that my liver enzymes were elevated. They did an ultrasound test and found nothing seriously wrong with my liver. I was relieved but still concerned about the health of my liver. I'm no doctor but surely the liver is a vital organ. Don't ask me why but I still kept eating the SAD diet. My doctor drew my blood every six months for the next two-and-one-half years. Each and every time my liver enzymes were elevated. Last year I decided to follow a strict paleo diet. After 10 weeks I had lost thirty pounds and my liver enzymes were in the normal range. As a side benefit the acne on my back, which I had for decades, had completely disappeared. I hate to use hyperbole but the paleo diet is damn-near miraculous.

If you are new to the paleo diet concept you should keep something in mind. The paleo diet is not an "invention" but actually a discovery of what humans ate for millions of years. The paleo diet mimics the diet "designed" for us by the evolutionary process. Because this "diet" has been a way of life for millions of years it's ironic that some people call paleo a "fad" diet.

I've given Loren Cordain five stars for this book but I have one minor nit-pick. He could have included a paragraph or two about the significant health benefits of pasture-raised (grass-fed) meat. His first book did a very good job of this and that's where I learned about eatwild.com. This website has very good information about the health benefits of pasture-raised meat, poultry and eggs. Feed lot beef, poultry and eggs are crap and I try to avoid it. At the time of my first reading of Cordain's first book it was difficult to find pasture-raised meat and eggs. In the last few years it has become much easier to find. Pasture-raised beef can be found at every Whole Foods Market.
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on January 18, 2012
Among the crop of paleo/primal/ancestral health books, this one earns a place on my top five ranking. It has useful and up-to-date discussions of specific disease conditions and their relationships to nutrition. Since the Paleo Answer is brand-new, it also has the advantage of being able to cite new research since Good Calories, Bad Calories (GCBC) came out.

The book is almost entirely about nutrition. It mentions other lifestyle issues, but only in short treatments, so do not expect the kind of wide-spectrum discussion of lifestyle at the depth available in the Primal Blueprint. I thought the sub-title was misleading. This is not a play-by-play gimmicky diet program. It is a useful applied science book (and sure, if you stop eating nasty toxins, of course you'll feel better in a few days!).

The chapter on vegetarianism/veganism is notably solid and might be useful to recommend to vegetarians and vegans. Moral issues are touched on, but what Cordain really wants to make fully clear in this chapter, and I think he slam-dunks it, is that seeking better health is not one of the reasons to be a vegetarian/vegan [Steve Jobs, RIP].

It is nice to see an author who openly changes his mind and Cordain is quite clear on points on which new evidence or understandings have led him to do so in the past few years. The discussion of vitamin supplements is important. Cordain argues that the most recent studies are trending to indicate that most supplements are somewhere between useless and harmful, but D and fish oil appear to remain positive. I thought his personal stories fit with the content and add to the book (rather than being mere ego digressions), I particularly liked the story related to obtaining clean water.

The chapter on dairy showed some logical weakness. All of the evidence it cites is from studies of cow milk drinking, but the author generalizes those conclusions to all dairy products. I have had very negative experiences with milk drinking and stopped years ago, but no (noticeable) negatives with cheeses and heavy cream. Clearly there is a major difference created with the separation into cream/butter and the bio-processing involved in cheesemaking. I'm not saying those products are thereby cleared of suspicion, just that they are clearly different in their effects from milk itself and need to be addressed as such. I thought it was a black mark on the logic of the book that this distinction was not addressed at all in the dairy chapter and that conclusions based on milk studies alone were generalized to all dairy products.

Another weakness is the repeated reference to "lean" meats as being recommended. I'm not sure what this is about, but I guess it might be a kind of subconscious artifact leftover from the habit of bowing to anti-fat hysteria. Fat is the primary target of predators and ranks above lean meat in priority of consumption. Traditional societies eat the whole animal and your fellow hunters would certainly be horrified if you started tossing out the fat components of the kill in favor of boring old chunks of dry muscle! Treatments of fat in the Primal Blueprint and GCBC seem to be superior.

Above this on my current nutrition/health rankings are only three volumes: The Primal Blueprint, GCBC, and The Paleo Solution. In sum, that leaves a lot of other volumes in this genre that I am ranking below this one (I've gotten good specific insights from a lot of other books, but the quality and reliability of the advice is much more spotty). I would definitely include The Paleo Answer in a top-five reading program in this area.
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on December 29, 2016
If you are looking for a short and simple explanation of how to follow the paleo diet, then this is not what you are looking for. This is a book outlining the reasoning for the diets tenants with weak scientific evidence and anecdotes. There is a 7 day plan in the middle of the book, but no elaboration on what to eat day to day.
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on February 9, 2015
This is a wonderful and useful book and my mind boggles at the thought of all the research Dr. Cordain had to sift through and study to put together our ancestral diet. This is an outstanding book and he has done so much for giving us life-saving information on improving our health. I cannot thank him enough. I do have a few reservations about some things I wish he'd done differently and I mention them just because I was a bit concerned (mostly about the supplement issue).

1) I wish he had footnoted everything. He makes a lot of comments about studies but they are not footnoted although he does extensive chapter by chapter references in the back of the book which is better than nothing.

2) I do disagree with his conclusions regarding supplemental vitamins and minerals. He mentions studies that show some nutrients (such as vitamin E) are dangerous, yet I have read elsewhere that the E used for these studies was synthetic not the natural form and this plays out differently in the body. I think the problem here (for me) is that he doesn't comment on the quality of the studies. Another example is one that I am really concerned about - iodine. He does not seem to notice that there may be a need for this supplement especially since he advocates a salt-free diet (salt being the main way most people get their iodine supplement). And finally, he claims that if we eat as our ancestors we won't need supplements - yes but we don't eat as our ancestors in that we are not eating wild foods! We are eating foods that for the most part are being grown in depleted soil. I wish he'd commented on these various issues.

3) I would like to have seen more discussion about the variations found in our paleo ancestral diets. I find it hard to believe that all of them ate the same amount of protein that he recommends. Maybe they did but I wish he'd talked more about it. My own assumption would be that those living in colder climates would need more fat and those living in hotter climates would need more carbs and less fat. It would be interesting to know what he discovered about this (if anything).
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on August 1, 2012
This is the latest book I've read in a year of research into how to keep 20 pounds off. I liked Gary Taubes' books as well as Mark Sisson's "Primal Blueprint". Dr. Cordain's detailed information about anti-nutrients was an eye-opener. If you want to better understand why grains, legumes, potatoes and dairy should be on your avoid-most-of-the-time list, as well as why an eating regime that includes lean animal protein and seafood makes sense, I recommend this book.

Among other things, I've begun a push to understand what exactly chronic or systemic inflammation is and how to avoid it because I keep hearing about it. As a decades-long runner, I'm extremely motivated to keep inflammation out of my body! "The Paleo Answer" picked up where "Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It" stopped: it addressed the growing number of studies about the effects of anti-nutrients on physiology. Turns out they may be a key underlying cause or major contributor to systemic inflammation and auto-immune diseases.

Dr. Cordain's data reinforced my commitment to eat leafy greens, fruit, low-glycemic veggies, lean meat and seafood* and very little grains/dairy/legumes/potatoes. Even if the science later proves there is no connection, or only a small connection, between anti-nutrients and systemic inflammation and/or auto-immune diseases, it is still a healthy, fibrous, reasonably low-fat way to eat. I am keeping those pesky 20 pounds off despite occasional ice cream binges. (Is life worth living without ice cream or a beer once in a while?) My most recent lipid panel (July 2012) showed a triglyceride count of 49 and my HDL number was 84. In this case the proof of the pudding is not in the eating, it is in the blood test. :-) Monitoring will continue....

*Dr. Cordain also mentioned that eating too much protein is toxic. I keep protein, not to be lumped in with fat, to around 25% of my daily eating total.
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on May 17, 2014
Eating like our Paleo Ancestors did, a little meat (fish is best), mainly veggies, some fruit, nuts, etc. No eggs, no butter, no bread, no pasta, no rice. I'd been on high blood pressure medication for 2-years, went on a 12-day backpacking trip, had some serious Vertigo episodes the last two days and discovered it was caused by low blood pressure inadvertently brought on by being on what I now know as The Paleo Diet. My pills turned normal blood pressure into low blood pressure. By sticking to the Paleo, combined with regular (daily) exercise and adequate sleep, I've been off the blood pressure pills for 3-years now. My weight and waist are back to what they were in my high school days and great energy all day long. I remember the same Dr. who put me on the pills couldn't believe my normal blood pressure of 120/70 with no pills, saying she hadn't heard of anyone doing this. According to her, once you're on the pills, the only thing that changes is increasing the dosage. I explained exactly how I did it and how others could. She listened, but didn't take a single note. Doctors don't want to cure patients; it's much better business to keep them sick. Another good line to remember is "If man made it, don't eat it." This is from Jack LaLane, who lived to be 96, and only died then because he refused medical treatment for pneumonia. He also said "Your health account is like your bank account. You can only get out what you put in."
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I am a big Cordain fan, very much like what he preaches and teaches. And he has the scientific background to be taken very seriously.

HOWEVER--this book was a real disappointment. It is really geared towards the beginners to the Paleo world, and in particular the diet shopping crowd looking for information on Paleo. The endless personal testimonials throughout the book really got on my nerves; I wasn't shopping for Paleo, I am already committed to it, and so the testimonials were a waste of my time (and money).

If your experienced in Paleo at all,this book will not provide very much new information
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on January 3, 2018
I was able to read about and understand all the details and reasons and scientific studies behind just why the Paleo diet is so effective. I think this book is a must read after completing the Paleo diet to sink your roots in deep and to keep you faithful you love this eating plan as much as I do. This book is also perffect if you are on the fence and not sure if this eating plan is for you. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!
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on December 28, 2012
I have been doing Paleo -- well I cheat a little -- for the last two years. And it is a great lifestyle, not just a diet.

This is a good book. It is a follow up to the first book he wrote and explains more about the anti-nutrients in foods off the Paleo food list such as wheat, legumes, and potato. For someone new to the Paleo diet, this book is not enough. You have to buy the first book, read it, and then move on to this one, which provided more details. That said, there are several things that are not explained very well in this one, like a comprehensive list of things to eat or not to eat; the meal plan was for such a short time.

I really find part of the title to be very cheesy and trying to be like a typical fad diet book "7 Days to Lose Weight ...".
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on January 16, 2014
This was the second book I purchased about the Paleo diet. I figured it was good coming from the author who is so well know for this way of eating. Also, this is an updated version from the first book "The Paleo Diet". To me this was a little too scientific with information and didn't get down to the meat of how to work the program. Good info but I have since found exceptional resources that explain paleo terms much simpler and easier to grasp. Try Robb Wolf, Melissa Hartwig and Diane Sanfilippo.

Recommend with reservations. If new to Paleo then start elsewhere and then maybe revisit this once you have a good understanding of the concepts.
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