Saturday, 6 December 2014

What have Weston Price, Ainslie Meares, Yoga & Meditation got in common

Weston Price is comparatively well known as the Dentist who travelled around the world in the 1930's and studied the diets of many cultures with far reaching findings. Less well known is the work of an Australian Psychiatrist, Dr Ainslie Meares (b1910-d1987). Dr Meares was a Founding Fellow of Royal Aust & NZ College of Psychiatrists and, for a time, the President of the Int. Society for Clin & Exp Hypnosis.

Like Weston Price, but in the 1950's-1960's, Dr Meares travelled around the world, witnessing and studying various mental states and the role these played in the lives of people from different cultures. In particular, he learnt an ancient method of meditation from a wise old yoga in Nepal who he describes as "different from any other man I have ever met"  "he was serene" "When you were in his presence the calm of it was all through you"  (Strange Places, Simple Truths pg25).

While respecting the value of traditional meditation, he developed a theory which differs significantly from meditation per se. His objective was to assist people in accessing the natural undisturbed calm within themselves. His method essentially consisted of treating his patients for anxiety, illness and pain by allowing the mind to rest.

He called this mental state atavistic regression. Some have misunderstood that term. Atavism which translates from Latin as "primitive". Regression means to go backwards. A better translation would be to use the word "primordial". Atvastic regression meaning returning to the original or elementary way that has existed from the very beginning. A return to a purer simpler state of mind- a mind free of disturbance. Meares definitely did NOT mean barbaric or uncivilised mind or anything like that.

He later changed to the term mental ataraxis to better communicate the idea of this mental state where there was a state of freedom from, and absence of, dis-stress and anxiety.

Many, many years before anxiety and stress were acknowledged as contributing to illness, Dr Meares had identified that. Long before the term mind-body medicine was coined, he emphasised it’s critical importance. And long before meditation was widely advocated as a potential means of healing, Dr Meares had established a solution to counteract mind- body distress.

It is believed that Meares meditation augments a natural physiological mechanism that restores ease to the mind. Undoubtedly, our hunter gatherer ancestors experienced this naturally as part of their way of life. Today, the search for it can be seen in the increasing numbers of Western people looking for answers in various Eastern practices. However, most of us are not Easterners. We are Westerners born in a Western culture with a Western mindset. Eastern mystics devote their lives to practice; they live for practice. By contrast, Meares Meditation (also called Stillness Meditation), is non-religious and non-sectarian. It was created as a mental restorative practice to assist modern Western people to live a better quality of life.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Is the Paleolithic diet 10,000, 100 or 15 years old?

They say there are no new ideas. Paleo - primal like diets have been around in one form or another for a long, long time. Listed below are some examples up until the year 2000 - after that much has been written.

Banting (1864). A letter on corpulence.
A smallish book on how to lose weight written by a grateful patient, given away and then priced at cost.
( While not pure paleo, the diet was in a paleo like direction ie consisted of natural meats, fruits, vegetables with dairy and grains excluded and small amounts of dry grape wine permitted (ie low sugar wine).
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur (1912). My Life with the Eskimo; The Macmillan Company, New York,
(He wrote several books but, this was the first)

Price, Weston (1939) Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects Paul B. Hoeber, Inc; Harper & Brothers

I'm an Australian, so I have to mention:
  1. Shatin, R (1964) Man and his cultagens. An inquiry into the ecology of chronic diseases possibly affecting 3percent of the population. Scientific Australian 1964 Vol 1: 34-39.
  2.  Shatin R (1967) The transition from food fathering to food production in evolution and disease. 12:104-107 Vitalstoffe Zivilisationkrankheitein 12: 104-107
  3.  Boyden, S (1973), "Evolution and health", The Ecologist 3(8) 1973, pp.304-309
  4.  O'Dea K (1984) Marked improvement in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic Australian aborigines after temporary reversion to traditional lifestyle. Diabetes 1984, 33(6):596-603.

Voegtlin, WL (1975) The Stone Age Diet. Based on In-depth Studies or Human Ecology and the Diet of Man. Vantage Press. 
Eaton, S; Shostak, M & Konner, M (1988). The Paleolithic Prescription: A Program of Diet & Exercise and a Design for Living. New York: Harper & Row.

Cordain, L (1999) The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat.

(The first edition of the book that named the Paleo Diet and a good spot to end this post)


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

[ Paleolithic = Stone Age = Cave Man = Hunter Gatherer = Garden of Eden ] Diet

You can call it:
  • Paleolithic Diet
  • Stone Age Diet
  • Cave Man Diet
  • Hunter-Gatherer Diet.
  • Garden of Eden Diet
  • any other name you like or that sounds distinctive
They are all the same diet.However, if you read around you will find they are not the same!!

Some supposed version mention beans, potatos, butter, hard cheeses etc, etc. Some say you have to eat bucket loads of meat. Others mention eating an ever varying range of foods. Then some say it has to be organic or slow food or you have to drop out and grow it all yourself.

Who is right?
Assuming that you want your diet to bear a strong resemblance to what was eaten during paleolithic times (ie before agriculture) and in a manner consistent with modern hunter gatherers then:

                                        Say NO to
NO grains and cereals including bread, noodles and pasta
(try picking and eating raw wheat)

NO dairy 
(try and milk a large wild, horned herbivore that has young suckling, if you survive you will understand. Anyway, you are a human being and not a baby herbivore trying to grow into a cow and so drinking filtered cow's blood is not the way to go.)

NO peanuts - they are legumes and are different to tree nuts
NO Beans (legumes) eg string beans, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts and peas
NO added refined sugar, no added salt, no refined vegetable oils.

                                         Say YES to
  • natural pasture fed meats (NOT grain fed), seafood, organ meats like liver, kidney etc
  • eggs
  • fruits and berries
  • vegetables (NOT potatos). 
  • tree nuts eg. walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia, almond. NO peanuts (a bean\legume)
  • olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut oils 
If you do this you will go a long way towards fairly pure paleo eating.

What are the effects of making these changes? :
  • a big increase in nutrients
  • a significant reduction in toxins
  • a decrease in carb\sugar content so you will burn carbs AND fat
 The short list:pastured meats, organs, seafood, eggs, fruits & berries, vegetables, tree nuts.

If its not on the list you can't eat it.
You can "flavour" dishes using small amounts of herbs
and use healthful oils (see above) for cooking as well. 

How do I know this is information is right?
Read up on your archaeology and anthropology, understand how botany and technology influence the ability to utilise foods, appreciate optimal foraging theory. If you want to do some modern pseudo experimental archaeology (also called first hand experience) take up farming, fishing, hunting and growing your own fruit and vegetables as an experiment. If you are an Australian maybe you could go walkabout... or learn about it. 
Read up from reputable sources. If you do these things, I guarantee that the following foods will be on the menu:

pastured meats, organs, seafood, eggs, fruits & berries, vegetables, tree nuts.


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Potatos Taters and Spuds are NOT pure Primal - Paleo cuisine

Yes, its true, potatoes are not primal - paleo. This post provides an overview about why this is the case.

The potato (solanum tuberosum) plant is a nightshade that originated from South America. Genetic testing of cultivars and wild species indicate a single origin for potatoes in the Peru - Bolivia area about 7,000–10,000 years ago. The plant was introduced into the outside world including throughout Europe only 400 years ago!

The average (non-paleo) Western person is said to eat 30+ kg of potato each year!

Potatos contain a high glycemic load and high glycemic index. The glycemic index is comparable to refined sugars. This is not a good thing and just as refined sugars are associated with various diseases so to are potatos for similar reasons.

Potatoes contain toxic compounds known as glycoalkaloids including the saponins: solanine and chaconine. These antinutrients (ie poisons) protect potatos from microbes and insects that consume these "seeds" by dissolving cell membranes. Saponins will exert similar effects in humans consuming them. In humans, consumption of glycoalkaloids, or substances containing them, will cause headaches, diarrhoea, cramps, and in severe cases coma and death. Poisoning from potatoes has occurred and is probably underestimated. The symptoms of glycoalkaloid poisoning eg cramps, diarrhea with some headache is similar to microbial food poisoning symptoms and could be confused with that. Sometimes, it might not be the take away chicken (eg chicken and chips) or the seafood (eg seafood and chips) that was off. It might be the potatos contained higher amounts of saponins.  

Glycoalkaloid content in potatos is increased by exposure to light, physical damage and age. The green colour is not a reliable guide to saponin content ie if it ain't green it can still contain significant amounts of saponin.

Cooking at high temperatures, over 170 °C reduces gylcoalkaloid content but, depending on the original concentration prior to cooking, substantial quantities may remain. So, fire is also needed before significant consumption of potato can occur that will mostly avoid acute toxicity ie temporary or permanent adverse effects shortly after eating (including death). No one should ever eat raw potato. But through avoiding light and through cooking may not be sufficient.

While cooked potato flesh has 20-200 mg/kg of glycoalkaloid, a cooked green tuber contains ~250+ mg/kg, and cooked skins ~1500 mg/kg. 200mg/kg was used as a safety standard by the industry for many years but, many scientists believe that the figure should be substantially reduced perhaps to around ~50mg/kg. You can see that many potato foods will exceed these numbers. Google around if you want more data around this theme.

Potato glycoalkaloids increase intestinal permeability, which allows foreign compounds to gain access to the blood and body tissues, and if consumed over a long time this will contribute to chronic inflammation and associated diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and diseases arising from insulin resistance.

Potatoes also contain significant amounts of lectin. This lectin almost certainly resists degradation by gut enzymes, passes thru the gut barrier and bind tissues inside our bodies. It is believed that lectins such as potato lectin play a role in autoimmune and allergic processes.

It is to be noted that from the bodies perspective it is always the total dose that is important. So, in relation to intestinal permeability it is the total dose of substances that increase intestinal permeability (eg saponins, gluten (wheat etc) etc) and those factors that tend to reduce intestinal permeability (eg vitamin D via zonulin tightens up junctions between intestinal lining "barrier" cells). Similarly, in relation to lectin load it is the total body load that is important and lections are found various other foods eg gluten is also a  lectin.

In summary:
- humans only domesticated the potato 7,000 to 10,000 years ago, in a smallish part of the South American continent and consumption would have been limited to a few months of the year due seasonal nature of crop and hazards of storage (ie increased saponins). Widespread distribution and consumption of the potato by European humans has only occurred for <400 years. 

- potato's have a glycemic index as high as refined sugar.

- potato's contain saponins and lectins in sufficient amounts to exert chronic effects over a period of time including reduced intestinal permeability, chronic inflammation etc


Potato's are not paleo. Optimists can reserve them as a treat ie the 10-15percent of "fun" foods that some versions of the paleo - primal diet permit........ If you have any susceptibility to active disease processes, particularly if increased intestinal permeability, chronic inflammation, allergy\ immune response, hyperinsulemic response etc are component then potatos are likely to exert an additive or synergistic effect in relation to other risk factors.

Why not find a substitute for potatos? For example, sweet potatos, pumpkin, carrots etc do not contain significant quantities of lections or glycoalkaloids and have lower glycemic index values.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Still Mind, Moving Body - the intersection between sedentary work, dis- stress management \ meditation

 Around 500 BC the Greek philospher Thales wrote:

What man is happy? He who has a healthy body, a resourceful mind and a docile nature 

The Roman poet Juvenals (~50-150 AD) said men should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body or in Latin mens sana in corpore sano usually translated as a sound mind in a sound body. This motto has been used by many movements and organisations over the ages. In the 1790's, The German innovator GutsMuths commenced his famous book on gymnastics using that sentence. In the next paragraphs he decries the degeneration and weakness of his fellow country man saying that they had not realised they could be strong if they pleased. It seems over 200 years ago, it could be observed that civilisation was weakening people. Sadly, this trend has continued with mechanisation, the reduction in physical education to games, even military fitness standards in some countries have had to be reduced, more than once, over the last 100 years or so; Sedentary work and sedentary leisure has significantly increased.

At the same time the mental complexity of society has increased, the extended family support system has given way to the nuclear family, information has increased and become digital.

Today, many people have busy minds and still bodies. But our genes are designed for the reverse a still (calm) mind in a moving body:

Still Mind, Moving Body                        busy mind, still body

The full quote from Juvenals:

men should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Ask for a stout heart that has no fear of death,
and deems length of days the least of Nature's gifts
that can endure any kind of toil,
that knows neither wrath nor desire and thinks
the woes and hard labors of Hercules better than
the loves and banquets and downy cushions of Saranapalus
What I commend to you, you can give to yourself;

For assuredly, the only road to a life of peace is virtue.
                                Decimus Junius Juvenalis (Satires 10.356)

Monday, 24 November 2014

The peopling of the world - the routes and timing of human migration across history

Humans and chimpanzees diverged about 4.5 million years ago and eventually around 160,000 years ago the global journey of modern man began. This web site shows the routes and timing of migration that resulted in the peopling of the world.

If you are keen on things paleo - primal you will understand a few things more clearly after watching.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Categorising human movement in paleo \ hunter gatherer times

The first step is to categorize the types\range of “natural”
human movements. These are all trends and exceptions to the ratings
of intensity and duration may occur. For example, escape from a
predator is expected to be all out and short duration on the vast
majority of occasions but could be medium intensity for medium
duration in an unusual situation.

Food searchWalk, jog, climb swim
[carry children]


(combined or separate)
Jog run sprint
dive swim



wound & kill

Jog run sprint
hang climb
dive swim
upper body movement


GatherHang climb swim dive
bend squat
upper body movement


Escapesprint, climb, swim etcHighShort-medium
Carry food\childrenbend\squat to lift) Walk & carryLow-medium
Intermittent rest breaks
FightMixed pattern eg hit kick grapple weapon usageHighShort
MigrateWalk jogLowLong
SleepProne\supine postureLow Long
RestSquat flat foot, on ball feet, 1 leg crane etc
Many & varied


Play eg dance, games, socialiseMany & variedLow-highShort-long
Prayer, Rites of passage etc
Dance, rest\sleep type postures, search or escape type


SexYou already know...You already know...You already know...
ExerciseDid not exist per se.--

Resting patterns are briefly mentioned in the table but the amount
of rest will depend upon the amount of effort. In some cultures,
hunters rest every second day as they are tired after the hunt. In
others, hunting occurs every day but the intensity and duration is
 Trends start to emerge:
  • lots of walking, some more walking while carrying objects and some running\sprinting
  •  the full range of human movements
  •   rest schedule is related to the workload. Hunter gatherers behave like predators rather than prey and if oppurtunities allow do not engage in “äll out efforts” except uncommonly in infrequent situations eg fight and escape from predator or other danger.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Why no references?

I am writing for the reader. This blog is not being written for a peer reviewed journal. The peer review process involves editorial boards of specialist around the topics covered in a journal who may also ask other super-specialists for their thoughts. There is an old saying that academics learn more and more about less and less until they know very little about anything. Whilst often used in a derogatory way, this is about the breadth and depth of knowledge - as depth increases breadth tends to reduce somewhat. Specialisation can have its consequences where not reading out side the field can narrow the perspective 

Anyway, little leeway is allowed in journal editorial circles for anything other than fairly strict logic. Other peoples work must be extensively referenced. Supporting facts must be referenced. Conclusions drawn must stick to the known facts etc etc Of course, this will not completely stop biases ie people may selectively cite references that support their views. It will not completely stop denial ( ie disbelief can prevent publication or data may be ignored with alternative explannations sought). However, it is the best filtering system that academic humans have been able to come up with.

Peer reviewed journals are important. But, trying to turn a blog into a peer reviewed journal will greatly reduce readability and clarity . References can be mis-used as well. Someone (Dan John, I think) once said that you should not believe everything you read on the internet. A single reference or a stack of references doesn't necessarily make a particular statement correct. However, broader criteria can help. Might post about that at some stage.

Read critically, make your own checks. Using Google you can do that far more easily than in any time in history. Like you I'm a space digital age person living in a stone age body. Today, I can check something out in a few minutes. Decades ago I can remember having to travel to libraries, interlibrary loans, trips to bookshops etc to try and find information. That same basic "lets check that out" process would take days if you were lucky and hit the jackpot. If you were unlucky it would take weeks or longer if it turned out to be a slog. The point is that you should make your own checks just as you should be about anything else on the internet.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Religious Movements and Sedentary Work

Many would be aware of the Shaolin Temple and its links to Kung Fu. Fewer would know that the original reason that martial exercises (18 Lohans) are said to have been introduced is that the monks spent long periods of time in meditation and the martial exercises were to balance that.

Ancient traditional yogic practices are similar. The popularity of yoga in the west saw growth and expansion in the movement practices as well as bringing yogic meditation to a wider audience. Prior to that yoga exercises including nauli etc were purely health based and included a focus on balancing out long periods spent stationary in meditation.

I have just been reading about a yogi who was said to have been over 100 years old and spent around 16 hours/day meditating, 2 hours in sleep and the rest (6 hours) in various activities including discussion with the people who came to see him. He was serene but stationary.

Tibetan Budhism also has its exercise system. One of these is the 5 Rites. This consists of a series of 5 exercises, again for health reasons and to balance out time spent stationary in meditation.

Various Chinese philosophical\religous systems also utilise exercises to "cultivate the chi". Whether this be Tai Chi Chuan, the Ba Duan Jin or one of the many,many others systems that exist.

There are also hybrid systems where religious, martial and gymnastic aspects are all involved and these, reflective of their aims, have far less emphasis or need to balance out stationary\sedentary activity as this would have been less of a problem due to their intrinsic nature.

It is sometimes said that there are no new ideas or new problems. In many, cultures there is an awareness of the need to balance out significant amounts of time spent sedentary\stationary with time spent in movement.

In the west, several decades ago, prolonged standing was relieved by seating to permit resting of the lower limbs. Now seating has taken over from standing but concerns about sedentary work have re-introduced the idea of standing to undertake tasks to replace seating. The natural pattern of human movement is not standing or sitting rather their is varied movement from point of view of postures, intensity and duration.


NB Puns on religious movement to one side, religion is about the "why". This blog focuses on the "how" (as well as what, when, where and occassionally who).



Friday, 14 November 2014

Human movement in paleolithic times\hunter gatherer times

Hunter gatherers from South America were visiting continental
America a few years ago and on seeing people exercising in a park
could not understand why they would do that. They (the “visitors”
) thought exercise was ridiculous! It was an alien concept to them.

Modern and paleolithic hunter gatherers do no exercise or work as
such – the only work was getting food, shelter, having off spring,
helping the tribe to survive etc.

Getting food, for hunters, was search, stalk\chase, kill, butcher,
carry. For foragers, a similar cycle.

There were no trains, planes & automobiles etc. Getting around
is exclusively by walking, running and all out sprinting
occassionally. When food became scarce and it became to far to walk
back to camp that day then the camp was shifted by a migratory walk
carrying the few possessions hunter gathers have. Adults also got to
carry small children.

Shelter for a hunter gatherer is little aside from a roof and
maybe some walls there is little else except the ground. Furniture is
a modern idea. Any conveninent logs, rocks and the ground are all
there is in the way of furniture to sit on in a hunter gathers world.
Sleep is on the ground or maybe on flat mats. Toilet seats don't
exist except, depending on your anthropometry and range of motion,
the back of your calves when in the squatting position.

Resting postures, there are many... well there is a little
information available there thanks to anthropology.

Studies on recent and still living hunter gathers gives us some
good information. Archeological information on such things is more
limited but there are clues from preserved tools\weapons, skeletons
of ancestors and prey etc. For example, tool making means
manipulation using hands, elbow, shoulder, with support provided by
torso etc and in some cases support or actions by the other hand in
others unilateral action. Evidence of muscular development can be
obtained from skeletal remains which includes more pronounced and
differing development of muscles on left versus right arms etc.

In relation to primal-paleo like diets, it is clear from both
recent hunter gatherers and our ancestors that there were ranges of
diets, with some seasonal variation and particularly with variation
that depends on the distance of the HG population from the equator.
For example, traditional eskimo versus equatorial HG. It should be no
surprise that the human movement patterns amongst hunter gatherers
also show variation (but within limits so that trends may be

Hunting involves the stages of search, stalk\chase, kill,
butcher, carry and eat. For example, “persistance” hunting
occurs in a few hot parts of the world where the human hunter with a
superior thermoregulatory system, uses this advantage, to run the
prey into the ground over a prolonged time frame involving hours and
then moves in for the kill. Hunters will often eat some of the prey
at the site where the carcass is cut up. It all has to be carried
back to base anyway, so why not carry some in the stomach. This also
facilitates nutrition for the purposes of recovery from exertion. In
the case of persistance hunting, blood drinking is often noted –
whilst it may seem unpalatable to us – it is interesting to note
that blood is a rich source of sodium (which is lost during
sweating). For example, bovine blood contains about0.3g/100 ml. So, a
300ml cup of bovine blood would contain around ~1g of sodium. Modern
“sports “ drinks contain around ~0.3g sodium per cup.

The more usual hunting method involves a shorter stalk\chase
period under an hour, followed by a short stealthy stalk or a chase
leading to a kill etc.If the kill does not occur straight away then
there may be a further tracking\chase phase until the animal dies or
is killed.

Considering the overall movement patterns (ie the overall trend ),
deviations outside the range of human requirements and limitations
would be anticipated to lead to ill-health (&injury).

Whilst some journalists and ignorant people allege that the
primal- paleo movement requires its practitioners to go and live in
caves, make spears and hunt mammals, that is clearly not the case.
Most of us would not want to. That's why I call this blog Space Age
Paleo. Mimicking the essential elements of movement does not mean
prescriptive replication of the HG way of life. Although, I suppose
if you were intensely motivated and were prepared to drop out of
society you could do that.

Human movement is that which occurs through out the day and night.
This includes consideration of exercise, non-exercise activity (the
rest of the day) and sleep. The first step is to categorize and
weight the types\range of “natural” human movements.


Monday, 10 November 2014

Rooibus Tea

Aspalathus linearis is the botannical name for the difficult to grow bush whose dried leaves are used to make the tea also known as Red Tea, Redbush Tea, Bush tea, Mountain tea, Long life tea, South African red tea, or Rooibos Tea. The rooibos ("red bush") is a shrub with needle-shaped leaves that grows in South Africa in the Cederberg region.

I was surprised to learn that the Khoisans, the native bushpeople from that region are said to have harvested the leaves from this plant (supposedly) for centuries. It is said that they ate the leaves for the taste and the plant was used as a herbal remedy. The Khoisan have no written records per se and talk about there ancestors having done this going back to early times. Now to put a time on what this means is difficult.

Herbal remedies and plant usage are poorly retained in the archeological record- they rot unless exceptional condition are present, primitive humans also ate and digested the evidence. Finally, social evolution (ie verbal passing down of herbal remedies 100,000 to 10,000 years ago) is very difficult to detect in archeological evidence.

Overall, we tend to underestimate the sophistication of prehistoric culture because any evidence that remains is subtle. For example, going back to the dawn of agriculture arguments about whether or not various monuments were aligned with certain constellations etc took decades to become accepted and is still not accepted by some archeologists.

Rooibus is without caffeine and contains various phytonutrients - nutritional break downs of the ingredients also list various micronutrients but really these are present in minor amounts given the amount of tea actually used and then consumed in the beverage.

The traditional method of Rooibus preparation would result in a very dilute tea solution ie some people in the Cederberg area are said to have "always" made the tea as follows.

1. Boil the water and pour 1 cup over the leaves.
2. Let it stand for several minutes, drain off the water,
3. then fill the pot with boiling water and allow it to infuse for 15 minutes.
4. You may then put it on the stove (ie assuming a metal kettle or pot) and bring it to the boil several times until you have consumed the contents of the pot.

I put some tea into the pot and fill with boiling water or even use rooibus tea bags. In a previous post I mentioned that it can be consumed with a teaspoon or so of coconut milk if you wish.

In summary, Rooibus tea has been being consumed in one form or another for a minimum of several hundred years. It is said to have been rediscovered by a german botanist in 1772. It may have been consumed as a herb out of the hand and as a tea since antiquity. It is really impossible to say whether or not it could have been consumed as a herb during paleolithic times. It has no ingredients that appear to be toxic in the amounts consumed when drinking the tea and there are no documented instances of toxicity directly attributed to the tea (ie none I have found, anyway).

Rooibus is worth a try as a good non-caffeinated hot beverage, if you like the flavour worth drinking as a safer substitute for ordinary green tea or coffee. Personally, I find it quite refreshing and having tried every other tea\coffee substitute out there was pleased to find it. Not pure paleo but a practical option that appears to be consistent with paleo\primal practices.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Coconut gelatin coffee OR coconut gelatin rooibus tea

A quick look through the literature will tell you that coffee is simply not paleo\primal. See here

To make coffee you need the beans, a means of roasting and pulverising them, fire to boil your water, a means of filtering the coffee (or going ala Turkish) and some pots\cups or similar to contain your water and tea. This technology only developed in the last few thousand years so it is not possible for coffee to be a pure paleo choice. Maybe our ancestors chewed on the odd coffee bean here or there. That would only be when the beans were on the plant in season and incidental to hunting and foraging activities as coffee is not a food per se. How many beans at a time? How many days of the years? Answer: maybe none. IF they did eat the beans, then not many and not often. From the coffee drinkers point of view this is the optimistic best case scenario and it is still quite different to the dose a coffee drinker gets: ie a small handful of beans pulverised to maximise extraction of the active ingredient which is consumed one or more times on a daily basis. Coffee drinking is just not pure paleo.

If you do like coffee then it is best to consume small quantities (eg a cup) near start of day.. that way it will less likely interfere with sleep. Consider going for one of the varieties with a moderate amount of caffeine- a smaller dose will be cleared through the body more effectively before bed time. It is a stimulant and so if elimination is not an option then moderation is the next best thing.

My version of morning coffee is as follows. I often have gelatin and coconut milk\MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride oil) for "breakfast". I may or may not have lunch.

The gelatin increases your protein intake a little for the day (ie 5-10g) with a bonus of a bit more of certain amino acids that you do not get in lean meat (not unless you eat the gristle\connective tissue, anyway). The coconut and MCT oil give you some reasonably healthy fats as a fuel. You can miss out the coconut milk and just use MCT but mixing the gelatin is trickier.

Approximate amounts are as follows:

flat teaspoon instant coffee (pick a good brand here for flavour, moderate caffeine, safe processing)

flat teaspoon of gelatin

MCT oil teaspoon + tablespoon of coconut milk

You add the coconut/mct oil and then add a teaspoon of gelatin and mix up to a paste. Wait for kettle to boil and slowly add hot water stirring. You will find the gelatin disolves pretty well.

If you don't like coffee then this works ok with Rooibus tea. Make the tea in a second cup and pour the brewed tea into your prepared cup with the gelatin-mct\cocounut paste in it.

Rooibus tea ... might write some more about it on another occassion.

Happy drinking.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Some contemporary published research on paleo diets

Here is a list of published research on contemporary Paleo diets ie where people have been fed paleo type diets and the effects measured and compared with the "standard" diet (ie one a dietician have you eat). There are many, many more studies on hunter gathers - both historical and ones undertaken in recent times.

Frassetto LA, Schloetter M, Mietus-Synder M, Morris RC, Jr., Sebastian A: Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009.

Frassetto LA, Shi L, Schloetter M, Sebastian A, Remer T.Established dietary estimates of net acid production do not predict measured net acid excretion in patients with Type 2 diabetes on Paleolithic-Hunter-Gatherer-type diets. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Sep;67(9):899-903.

Fontes-Villalba M, Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Frassetto LA, Sundquist J, Sundquist K, Carrera-Bastos P, Fika-Hernándo M, Picazo O, Lindeberg S. A healthy diet with and without cereal grains and dairy products in patients with type 2 diabetes: study protocol for a random-order cross-over pilot study – Alimentation and Diabetes in Lanzarote -ADILAN. Trials. 2014 Jan 2;15(1):2

Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Ahrén B, Branell UC, Pålsson G, Hansson A, Söderström M, Lindeberg S.. Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2009;8:35

Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Erlanson-Albertsson C, Ahren B, Lindeberg S. A Paleolithic diet is more satiating per calorie than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Nov 30;7(1):85

Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Lindeberg S, Hallberg AC.Subjective satiety and other experiences of a Paleolithic diet compared to a diabetes diet in patients with type 2 diabetes. Nutr J. 2013 Jul 29;12:105.

Lindeberg S, Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Borgstrand E, Soffman J, Sjostrom K, Ahren B: A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease. Diabetologia 2007, 50(9):1795-1807.

Mellberg, C., Sandberg, S., Ryberg, M., Eriksson, M., Brage, S., Larsson, C., et al. (2014). Long-term effects of a Palaeolithic-type diet in obese postmenopausal women: a 2-year randomized trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.290

O’Dea K: Marked improvement in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic Australian aborigines after temporary reversion to traditional lifestyle. Diabetes 1984, 33(6):596-603. [see below]

Osterdahl M, Kocturk T, Koochek A, Wandell PE: Effects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers. Eur J Clin Nutr 2008, 62(5):682-685.

Ryberg M, Sandberg S, Mellberg C, Stegle O, Lindahl B, Larsson C, Hauksson J, Olsson T. A Palaeolithic-type diet causes strong tissue-specific effects on ectopic fat deposition in obese postmenopausal women. J Intern Med. 2013 Jul;274(1):67-76

I was at the Baker Institute when K. O'Dea was doing her work on carb & fat metabolism in diabetic Australian aborigines going on walkabout mentioned above. I'd grown up in the city and country including farming, hunted, fished and the great outdoors - O'Dea's research was inspirational, however, what was obvious to me was not to others and and I transitioned away from heart disease research and into work involving industrial maladies and disease.

Why space age paleo ?

Why space age paleo? Why not.

 The real reason is that 10 years (?) ago I was struck by Art de Vany's quote that we are spacemen living in stone age bodies. What Art, whom I have never had the pleasure of meeting, was getting at is that our way of life and environment (diet being but one aspect ) has changed greatly since the stone age but our bodies have not. Our genes optimal functioning has been designed by evolution around a hunter gatherer lifestyle where we

- walked searching food for  ~8-16kilometres/day,
- we killed\dig up, carried food back to camp,
- we had to bend, squate, twist, push, pull, lift, carry etc as needed in such an environment.

The food was fruit, vegetables, fish and meat - all unprocessed, although, for a few hundred thousand years some of it was cooked on a fire.

Day was lit.

Night was dark except for stars and firelight.

Drink meant water.

Fight or flight existed from time to time.

Natural selection occurred based on the ability of our human ancestors to be "fit enough"to survive predation and starvation under these conditions.

The blog is "space age" paleo because its about how sensibly adapting paleo onto a modern lifestyle using what I've picked up along the way myself and what I have learnt from others whilst endeavouring to keep it pure paleo or explaining to the reader it is a shortcut and is not paleo.

Many other practitioners do not make this difference and it causes confusion.