Sunday, August 30, 2009

Carnivorous Raw Paleo Diet working for me

After experiencing some relapse of certain symptoms I re-investigated my health and diet and tried a stricter approach, which quickly generated positive benefits. A very restrictive diet seems to work best for me. This is unfortunate, because it means that healthy foods are even less available for me than I realized and my diet is much less socially acceptable. I'm hoping I'll be able to stick with it despite the obstacles, as my health benefits dramatically when I do.

I decided to eliminate all foods that are questionable from a Paleo perspective:

Nightshades: Nightshades (like tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, though not black pepper) are mostly New World foods. Even those available in the Old World were inedible during the Stone Age and had to be selected for reduced toxicity over time to be made edible. Recent research by Dr. Loren Cordain and others has implicated nightshades in diseases of civilization ("How to Treat Multiple Sclerosis with Diet;" multiple videos; covers the role of tomatoes in MS, Nightshades had also been linked in the past to arthritis and other diseases of civilization by many the anecdotal accounts of many patients. They were viewed as toxic for many centuries in Europe. I had been skeptical of these accounts, but not any more.

Foods inedible unless cooked: This mainly meant winter squashes for me (I got to the point of eating them nearly every day), but also some potatoes and occasional french fries. I had been eating increasing amounts of these starchy foods that are indigestible raw in a vain effort to gain weight and increase social acceptance of my diet. I know, stupid mistake on my part and I've actually gained more weight since going carnivorous, as it has improved my health and appetite.

Cheats: I decided to end all cheats. Once I started cheating by eating a "natural" corn-sweetener-free fruit juice popsicle or other cheat, I found myself eating more and more of them almost unconsciously. Such sweet treats are just too addictive for me.

I eliminated nightshades, foods inedible raw, and cheating first and the health benefits were fairly dramatic within a month.

Sugary foods: No more fruit juices or sweetened drinks, no matter how natural. No more dried fruits, or even fresh, sugary fruits like tropical fruits. Eliminating these helped immensely. I appear to be very sensitive to carbs.

Tree nuts: This one surprised me, as I thought that eating lots of walnuts was actually helping me. Yet, when I eliminated nuts I did even better. They do contain antinutrients, as do all plants, and tree nuts are a fairly common allergen. Being a Paleo dieter I had of course already eliminated non-tree "nuts" like peanuts that aren't actually nuts at all, but legumes.

The remaining plant foods: All plants contain antinutrients. They have to in order to survive, because these antinutrients are natural insecticides that fend off predators. Therefore, eating plants every day may theoretically build up toxic levels of antinutrients. Even primates that have been eating lots of plants for millions of years, such as chimps, have to consume clay and other detoxicants in order to offset the accumulated antinutrients they absorb by eating wild plants nearly every day.

Plus, I decided to try a carnivorous, raw Paleo diet, as that was where my experience and research were leading me, and that is what Lex Rooker was doing with tremendous success. I discovered his story here:

All beverages other than water: I don't stick to this one 100%, occasionally having some black coffee or tea, and I greatly resisted trying it, but I'm glad I did. Water was the only beverage of our early ancestors. I found that by not drinking sweetened or flavored beverages, water tastes much better to me. Whenever I'm the slightest bit dehydrated, water actually tastes rather sweet to me. People more experienced with this than me claim that it's the body's natural mechanism to keep my body properly hydrated.

So far, so good. I started going purely zero carb as of 8/5/2009, with only occasional spring greens or tea. As of 8/12/2009 I gave up those things and reached pure carnivory, eating only raw meats and fish (mostly pasture-fed or wild), low-heated beef jerky, low-heated tallow, raw bone marrow, raw suet and water. I know, it sounds weird and I never expected I would be eating this, but experience and research have led me here and the benefits have been marvelous: all remaining acne gone (and I no longer need to take zinc supplements to keep it under control), potassium-deficiency cramps gone and only return if I eat carbs, dental health dramatically improved (I actually have a hole in a tooth that is remineralizing--i.e. filling in--and my loose teeth no longer move when wiggled nor require a retainer to keep them standing straight), etc., etc.

Eating a mostly-raw carnivorous diet sounded impossible, even to me, but it hasn't been nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I especially love jerky with tallow, pemmican, and raw ground venison.