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The Slow Paleo Transition primal diet-min

The Slow Paleo Transition

A lot of people seem to prefer to jump straight into Paleo. To clean out the kitchen, buy new cookbooks and go cold turkey on the grains all on the same day.

For others however, jumping straight in is a scary prospect. After eating a certain way for an entire lifetime, a slow, gradual transition into Paleo is the favoured approach for many. So how do you make a slow transition?

There are lots of plans that I think lead very gently into a Paleo diet, making it much easier to become “fully Paleo” without any fuss or issue. A lot of people who used to rely on refined grains, find suddenly cutting off those carbs can result in “carb flu”. This can last for a couple of weeks, and is not an enjoyable experience – but well worth persevering with to come out the other side, feeling like a new person.

Research and Reading

I always think the best start to a new routine is research. Understand exactly what you’re doing and why. Read everything you can Paleo from blogs, ebooks and books such as Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint and Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution.

Replace Industrial Oils

A quick win is to replace industrial seed oils with coconut oil and olive oil. You won’t feel your missing out on anything by throwing away the canola, sunflower, soybean, vegetable oil and margarine – but your body will thank you for it!

Quit Sugar

Giving up sugar is a great next step. Until you do this, you probably won’t realise how much sugar you actually eat. Ebooks like the Balance Bites “21 Day Sugar Detox” and Sarah Wilsons “I Quit Sugar” make the process easier, by taking you through this step by step.

Weston A Price

Once seed oils and sugar are in hand, I think adopting a Weston A Price approach would be an easy transition. This will enable you to focus on the quality of the food you eat. You don’t have to give up grains – yet – but you will be preparing them the minimise the harmful effects. You’ll still be consuming dairy, but you’ll be careful to ensure it’s good quality, raw dairy, which will be a significant bonus to your health.

Primal BluePrint

Once you become used to Weston A Price, it’s time to let go of the grains and address the rest of your lifestyle. Mark Sisson’s Primal BluePrint plan is the perfect next step. You’ll get rid of the grains, but keep the dairy. You’ll see the importance of the rest of your life and start sprinting and lifting heavy things. You’ll see the importance of sunshine, reducing stress and sleeping well. You’ll understand that there will be occasions you don’t make good food choices, but with the 80:20 rule, that’s ok – you’re getting it right far more often than not.

Whole30

One the Primal diet is dialled in, it’s time to go fully Paleo. I think the Whole30 is the best way to start this – and having been Primal, all you’re going to give up is dairy; not a big ask at all. A dedicated 30 days will enable you to see the benefits of eating this way and start to develop habits and routines.

Fully Paleo

After the Whole30, you can assess how you feel and slowly start to reintroduce foods (if you feel you really missed dairy, for example).

With a slow transition, you should be able to go from a SAD to a Paleo diet, without any real hardship or difficulty.

What was (or will be, for those just learning about Paleo!) your approach? Are you black or white, or do you prefer a slow transition? Did I miss any steps in a gradual transition?

The Slow Paleo Transition primal diet-min

Weston A Price Foundation Conference New Zealand Australia Events Sally Fallon-min

Weston A Price v The Paleo Diet

I went across to Auckland, New Zealand at the weekend to hear Sally Fallon-Morell, of the Weston A. Price Foundation, speak.

As with the Melbourne Sugar lectures, the audience was full of people new to the concept that the government approved low-fat diet is not the right approach. It is great to see so many people interested in making changes to their diet and I find it encouraging how many people were in attendance.

I meet up with Julianne Taylor at the talk – and I also meet and spoke Paleo with Rodney Hide. There’s nothing like being able to have real-life conversations on your favourite topic, is there? After the talk Rodney introduced me to Sally, which having had her book Nourishing Traditions for such a long time, was a real privilege.

WAPF-Paleo-Weston A Price Sally Fallon-min

Whilst there are some important differences between the Paleo style diet that I follow and the WAPF diet, I think it’s more useful to focus on the similarities, of which there are many. Whilst I believe a Paleo style diet is the optimal nutrition plan, if anyone were to convert from a SAD diet to a WAPF plan, I think they would see tremendous health benefits. If they then went one small step further to a Paleo or Primal diet, I think they’d see even more health benefits.

There are a number of principles that are the essence of the nutrition recommended by the WAPF.

FIRST PRINCIPLE: No refined or denatured foods

So much SAD food is refined or modified in some way;  sugar, flour, industrial seed oils, HFCS and so many more. If people did just one thing differently, completely removing these products from their diet would surely be the most beneficial. On this point Paleo/ Primal and WAPF are in complete agreement.

SECOND PRINCIPLE: Every diet contained animal products

As with Paleo, the WAPF believe that a healthy diet needs to include animal products and an optimal diet can’t exclusively contain plant food. Organ meats were mentioned a lot in the talk as an important source of many nutrients.

THIRD PRINCIPLE: Nutrient Density

The primitive diets studies by Weston Price were far richer in nutrients than much of the food available today. Mineral content in soil is depleted so many produce just don’t have the same nutrient density. This is where selecting good quality food comes in. Organic, home grown and grass-fed all promote far better nutrient density than the same items produced from intensive farming. Again, this is completely in line with Paleo.

FOURTH PRINCIPLE: All cultures cooked some or most of their food; but always ate some of their animal foods raw.

Weston Price noted that whilst primitive cultures did cook animal products, they also all ate some raw. This came down to raw dairy, which, whilst I agree it is absolutely better than pasteurised dairy, I find a big grey area. The talk focused on comparing processed dairy to raw dairy – where clearly raw dairy is the winner. Excluding dairy wasn’t discussed, which is the approach taken by a lot of the Paleo community, myself included.  My areas of concern with dairy are around the insulin response and the growth hormone IGF-1, which weren’t mentioned at all during the talk. I’d like to come to a more definitive view point on dairy, so had hoped to hear compelling reasons why dairy should be included. As it stands, until I find more conclusive evidence, I’m still of the view that dairy is best excluded.

FIFTH PRINCIPLE: High Levels of Enzymes and Beneficial Bacteria

This focuses on foods that provide enzymes to promote good digestion & metabolic health. Whilst raw dairy is noted as a good source, the super-foods here seems to be lacto-fermented foods such as Sauerkraut. The take-away point for me here is on fermented foods – something I need to make a conscious effort to include in my diet far more.

SIXTH PRINCIPLE: Seeds, grains, legumes & nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened

This principle starts off in line with Paleo, observing how components such as anti-nutrients, phytates and lectins in grains are not desirable. Where Paleo excludes grains and legumes altogether, WAPF promotes preparing these foods to minimize the damage. As with the dairy issue, I didn’t hear any compelling reasons why it is better to have grains in this form, than not at all. This is the main point on which Paleo/ Primal varies to the WAPF – whilst I’m certain people transitioning from a SAD diet to a WAPF would see significant improvements by preparing grains and legumes – I think their health would be far more optimal foregoing the grains and legumes altogether.

Weston-A-Price-Lecture-Paleo-Sally-Fallon-WAPF-New-Zealand-Auckland-680x450-min

SEVENTH PRINCIPLE: Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30% to 80% of calories, but only about 4 of calories come from polyunsaturated fatty acids.

This is a key point on which Paleo and WAPF are in agreement. I would probably promote this as the key point, since it concerns the importance of saturated fat and the dangers of the industrial seed oils.

EIGHTH PRINCIPLE: Nearly Equal Amounts of Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

This is also essentially in line with Paleo, stressing the importance of maintaining a good Omega 6/ Omega 3 ratio. This comes down to making the right choices in choosing quality meat and avoiding seed oils.

NINTH PRINCIPLE: All diets contained some salt

I think this point is hard to accept for people transitioning from Conventional Wisdom, where we are told how dangerous salt it. Once the processed food is removed the natural levels of salt remaining are often very low, so supplementing with a good mineral salt is very beneficial.

TENTH PRINCIPLE: All traditional cultures made use of bones, usually as bone broth

Another point I need to work on, bone broths are such a great source of nutrients, easy and cheap to make and very satisfying.

ELEVENTH PRINCIPLE: Traditional cultures made provisions for future generations

This principle was very interesting and concerns issues such as optimal spacing of children, nutrition of pregnant and nursing women and teaching nutrition to the younger generations. This seems to be all too often ignored or not considered in modern society.

Paleo vs Weston A Price?

I learnt a lot from this talk and it was a great reminder that I need to make sure I make provisions to include more organ meat, fermented foods and bone broth in my diet. I plan to make sure I include these regularly.

Whilst I completely agree that prepared grains are far superior to their refined counterparts – and that raw dairy is far superior to pasteurised, I didn’t hear anything to make me consider changing my anti-grains, legumes and dairy stance.

What do you think about the Weston A Price principles? Do you agree with their stance on dairy and grains?

Weston A Price Foundation Conference New Zealand Australia Events Sally Fallon auckland sydney-min

Weston A Price in New Zealand

Have you booked your tickets to see Sally Fallon Morell and Geoffrey Morell yet?  They’re touring New Zealand with the Weston A Price Foundation talking about “the Key to Vibrant Health” and tickets are on sale now.




Sally Fallon Morell, founding president of the WAPF is going to be talking about Dr Weston A Price, the health benefits of saturated animal fats, raw milk, the dangers of modern soy foods, the value of bone stock and lacto-fermented foods.  Geoffery Morell will be talking about “healing for the millions”.

There are lots of dates and venues to choose from:

  • 25th March 2012, Invercargill
  • 27th March 2012, Christchurch
  • 29th March 2012, Wellington
  • 1st April 2012, Auckland
  • 2nd April 2012, Havelock North
  • 3rd April 2012, Hastings
  • 4th April 2012, Hamilton

I’ve booked my ticket for Auckland, see you there?
Weston A Price Foundation Conference New Zealand Australia Events Sally Fallon auckland sydney-min

Weston A Price Foundation Conference New Zealand Australia Events Sally Fallon auckland sydney-min

Weston A Price in New Zealand

Apparently Sally Fallon Morell and Geoffrey Morell will be coming to New Zealand next year on a speaking tour with the Weston A Price foundation (WAPF).  Details are still to be announced and it will be between the 24th March and 6th April 2012.




Weston-A-Price-Lecture-Paleo-Sally-Fallon-WAPF-New-Zealand-Auckland-680x450-min

The Weston A Price Foundation approach is not the same as Paleo.  Dairy as well as grains are not discouraged.  Grains are soaked or sprouted prior to eating to remove some (but not all) of the toxins.  I’m certainly not interested in adding grains to my diet, but I am interested in learning more from the WAPF about things like fermented vegetables and organ meats, which I think could be a really beneficial addition to my diet.

I think a WAPF approach is a huge improvement on a typical Western Diet, and probably a good transition into Paleo.  In fact, a lot of Paleo people I have met started off with a WAPF approach before they discovered Paleo.

It should be a very interesting event to attend – and nice to have something like this in our part of the world.  I’ll post the details when they are announced.

What do you think about a WAPF approach?

Ever wondered why you Needed Orthodontics paleo diet AHS Weston A Price-min

Ever Wondered Why You Needed Orthodontics?

One of my favourite lectures at the AHS was one I’d stumbled into by chance.  I went to watch the Darwin Dentistry lecture with Kevin Boyd, which was very interesting.  However, the second half of this lecture presented by Michael Mew DDS, a British Orthodontist really captured my interest (it was also great to see another Brit there!).  I’d thought about dentistry with a Paleo perspective before (coincidence how eating Paleo doesn’t result in the cavities and dental issues of eating a SAD diet?), but I’d never before linked orthodontics with a Paleo lifestyle.

Mew explained how 60% of people have crooked teeth – which is clearly too significant to be put down to genetic factors, there is also no evidence to suggest the cause is genetic.  The reason for crooked teeth appears to be down to our changing faces.  We now have faces that Mews described as “like a waxwork model too close to the fire”: our jaws grow down and narrow leading to flatter faces, big noses & sloping foreheads.  With narrow dropped jaws, we have far less room for our teeth. This results in crooked teeth – and lots of orthodontics.  Studies of indigenous societies have revealed that they did not have the same issues of crooked teeth that we see, in fact the problem appears to have arisen since the industrial revolution.

 

Why Do Our Jaws Not Form Properly Anymore?

Breast Feeding appears to be a significant factor in this.  Apparently the actual mechanism of a breast and bottle fed baby is completely different.  Bottle feeding does not promote proper palate formation in the same way breast feeding does, Mew explained how “The baby pushes the nipple around its front teeth, helping create a wide palate and enough room for the front teeth.  Baby bottles don’t promote this growth.”

The modern diet of soft, processed foods does not enable jaw muscles to form properly, since it is rarely used to chew and bite on difficult food.  This too has a detrimental effect on jaw shape.

Ever wondered why you Needed Orthodontics paleo diet AHS Weston A Price-min

Mouth breathing is another significant factor.  When people cannot breath through their nose (perhaps due to allergies), they instead must breathe through their mouth.  Over time this changes the shape of the face and misaligns the jaw – leaving less room for proper teeth alignment.

Mews explained how he can tell just by looking at the shape of someone’s face whether they have orthodontic issues.  He uses “Orthotropics” to treat his patients, which encourages the jaw to grow correctly.  From the before & after photos of his patients, the changes in the shape of their faces was incredible.

Mews was a fantastic speaker.  Hearing such interesting ideas, for the first time, was a real highlight of the symposium. Who’d have thought orthodontics could be so interesting?

You can watch the lecture here (Mews is the second half).

I hope to see Mews back at next year’s AHS (on the main stage) to explain more on this topic.  I’m also very interested in the allergy link, which was touched on in other lectures – I’d love to see a whole lecture on allergies, in a Paleo context, at the next AHS.