The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat Hardcover – Dec 7 2001
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According to author Loren Cordain, modern health and diet problems didn't start with the advent of packaged snack food, but much earlier--back at the dawn of the agricultural age many thousands of years ago. As humans became less nomadic and more dependent on high-carbohydrate diets, we left behind the diet we had evolved with, which is based on low-fat proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Sugars, fats, and carbs were rare, if they were present at all, and survival required a steady, if low-key, level of activity.
Cordain's book The Paleo Diet blends medical research with a healthy sprinkle of individual anecdotes, practical tips, and recipes designed to make his suggestions into a sustainable lifestyle, rather than a simple month-long diet; he even includes cooking recommendations and nationwide sources for wild game.
Claims of improving diseases from diabetes to acne to polycystic ovary disease may be a little overstated, but in general the advice seems sound. Can any of us really go wrong by adding lots more vegetables and fruits to our daily regimen? One recommendation on safe tanning with a gradual reduction in sunscreen is surprising and not much detail is provided for safety issues that can accompany increased sun exposure. Still, Cordain's assertions have helped many people, and could provide exactly the changes you've been looking for to improve your health. --Jill Lightner
From Library Journal
Like Ray Audette's Neanderthin (St. Martin's, 1999), this is another "if you can't find it in the wild, don't eat it" diet that takes the germ of a useful idea and runs with it. According to Cordain (health and exercise science, Colorado State Univ.), Paleolithic humans were fit and lean because, as hunter-gatherers, they ate what was available: meats low in saturated fats, fresh fruits, and nonstarchy vegetables. Nor did they suffer from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, the byproducts of our poor eating habits and lack of exercise. Then again, the average Paleolithic life span was about 30 years, not long enough to develop most chronic illnesses. Still, the author asserts that by eliminating grains, dairy, refined sugars, and processed foods from our diets, we, too, can thrive as our ancestors did. Three levels of diet and six weeks of sample menus, with recipes, are included.
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Top Customer Reviews
Cordain evidently seems to have ignored much of his own research. The most alarming error is his frequent recommendation to use flax oil when cooking meat dishes. Recipe after recipe calls for marinating cuts of meat in flax oil before cooking - a very bad idea! For those who don't already know, you should NEVER cook with any type of polyunsaturated oil. Their high degree of unsaturation makes them extremely prone to oxidative damage, and this process is greatly multiplied by exposure to high temperatures (e.g cooking temeratures). Omega-3 fats, like those found in flax oil, are the most vulnerable polyunsaturates of all. When eaten, these 'healthy' fats trigger a chain-reaction of nasty free-radical activity in the body, leaving one open to the development of all sorts of degenerative ailments. Cordain should be well aware that liquid vegetable oils simply did not exist back in paleotlithic times.
Cordain also denigrates saturated fat in his book, which once again is rather pitiful considering his background. The anti-saturated fat doctrine is a product of agenda-driven 20th century researchers and beaureaucrats, eagerly supported by commercial interests and their cheerleading squad of ignorant nutritionists, health authorities, and authors. Cordain claims that a single experiment where saturated fat raised cholesterol levels in young men is proof that this fat is bad. Big deal! Such an assertion assumes that the cholesterol theory of heart disease is a valid one.Read more ›
This book claims to be the last word in explaining what our ancestors ate, and to not be just another book full of fads, but it is seriously flawed. The author seems to be trying to merge information on what the caveman diet consisted of with as many modern food fads as possible. He is particularly ignorant about healthy fats and oils.
The book is also not very convincing in the way it explains the scientific basis for the Paleo diet.
I disagree with the authors very-low salt stance and would advise them to read about unrefined sea salt and the work of Dr Brownstein on the many myths about salt and low-salt diet scaremongering, and the cholesterol scaremongering as well. The author has also been grossly misinformed about saturated fats. You should probably ignore what the author says about fats and oils in this book, as most of it is just plain wrong.
Liquid vegetable oils did not exist in paleolithic times and cooking with flax oil is very unhealthy! Saturated fats are also an important part of a healthy diet, and eating eggs does NOT raise your cholesterol levels. The 'very high' cholesterol levels mentioned in the book of 208 are also not high at all, and well within the healthy range of 200 - 240 according to lipid expert Mary Enig PhD.
The healthiest oils to cook with are ghee (unless you're 100% dairy free), lard, tallow, coconut and palm oils and olive oil. Oils should never be heated to very high temperatures such as in deep frying. These are the traditional fats to cook with, not flax oil!
The book is also very inconsistent and vague when it comes to talking about supplements.Read more ›
The Paleo theory offends Creationists, because it assumes an evolutionary explanation for human origins and why our bodies seem to thrive better on hunter-gatherer foods than on "our daily bread."
It offends free-market zealots, because it implies a criticism of the way American capitalism produces the toxic waste it calls "food."
It offends the charlatans in the weight-loss industry, who offer the simplistic explanation that Americans are getting obese because they are "eating too much," instead of scientifically looking at the consequences of WHAT they are eating.
It offends the American medical and pharmaceutical industries, because it argues that a proper diet to prevent cancer, "Syndrome X," and other degenerative diseases makes more sense than developing exorbitantly expensive (i.e., profitable) therapies and drugs to treat them after the fact.
It offends the social-engineering goody-goods (mostly on the Left) who had the government dictate carbohydrate-heavy nutritional guidelines to us which have proved disastrous in practice.
It offends vegans, because it argues that humans need to eat animals for optimum health.
It offends technological cornucopians of the Julian L. Simon school, because it challenges common beliefs about "progress," and whether our planet can produce enough of the proper sorts of foods for human well-being. Cordain points out that with current technology, only about ten percent of the world's population could be adequately sustained on a Paleo-compatible diet.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is a great beginning book. I found other books to have different information that is great as well and is more focused on what you are trying to do the diet(which is a... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Lucy
many of the recepies are too much thinking for me. I like the premis of the book and am shareing some of the information with others.Published on May 26 2013 by Lelah Ngeruka
This is a great book to help explain what the Paleo Diet does & how it works. It gives beginners 2 weeks worth of menus to try which are varied & not boring.Published on Jan. 11 2013 by Terry
This is an excellent book for anyone wanting some solid nutritional advice. I particularly like how it is all backed by science. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2011 by Kumar
The book is supported by a great wealth of research from the author's web site. I have been on it for 1 month now and intend to stay on it as i find it easy to follow. Read morePublished on Oct. 13 2010 by W052
... or maybe s/he simply didn't understand what s/he read. I'm talking about the one that made the stupid statement about the lifespan of paleo humans being only 30 years. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2004 by Amazon Customer
Cordain's book is long on speculation and error and very short on data.
He would have you eat protein at levels just a hair short of toxicity for your entire life! Read more
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