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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

My health began to deteriorate a few years ago. Not due solely to eating animal products, but due to eating a nutrient-poor modern industrial diet: factory farmed meat, farmed fish, pasteurized, homogenized dairy products, cheese and deli meat (with all the added salt), refined grains and sugar, refined birdseed oils (so-called "vegetable oils"), stimulants like coffee and cigarettes, and mind-numbing substances like alcohol (wine is "healthy"). A poor diet has a way of negatively affecting your health, but the change can be so slow you hardly realize it. By the time I realized that changes had to be made, I knew such changes would have to be drastic if I wanted to heal in a deep way.

I tried eating both cooked paleo and raw paleo diets, varying the amount of carbohydrates in my diet. But I found cooked meat to give me stomach/digestion problems (bloating or throbbing), while raw meat was just completely unsatisfying. As humans, we were designed to enjoy and be attracted to the food we eat.

I began practicing yoga and gave up eating meat in observance of Ahimsa, or non-harm. For six months I followed a diet that consisted of fresh, seasonal vegetables lightly cooked (boiled, steamed or baked), a small quantity of fruit, soaked/fermented grains or tuberous roots boiled or baked, and fresh, grass-fed, unpasteurized and unhomogenized cow milk. I ate very small quantities of sea salt and sugars such as whole raw honey (with propolis, royal jelly, etc.), maple syrup and jaggery. I only used grass-fed ghee or grass-fed butter on my food--no olive oil, coconut oil or vegetable oils.

I felt great, but my teeth were not remineralizing. Many of my teeth are beginning to rot, and in an effort to heal them, I decided to cut out the cooked grains and vegetables. So my current diet is mostly fruit, some leafy greens, and a small amount of unpasteurized grass-fed cow milk.

That is my story so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here is a comment I posted elsewhere as a response to an article criticizing the paleo diet:

"The body parts of animals, including red meat, poultry, seafood, and fish, and eggs, contain no carbohydrates."

This is wrong. The amount in many animal foods is negligible, but not zero. Some animal products, such as beef liver, have small amounts. 4 oz. of beef liver contains about 4g of carbohydrate. Some shellfish, on the other hand, has significantly more. 4 oz. of scallops, for instance, has 4g of carbohydrate, but has far fewer calories than beef liver, which means it contains more carbohydrate as a percentage of calories. Beef liver is only about 11% carbohydrate by calories, whereas scallops are 19% carbohydrate. What is significant about this is that humans have a taste for fat and carbohydrate, but not protein.

Cooking is cultural and has only been practiced consistently for about 50,000 years, not long enough for human physiology to appreciably adapt to cooked foods. Take potatoes, for instance. Yes, humans produce more amylase and have more adaptations for digesting starch than other primates, but nowhere near the adaptations of rooting animals like pigs. We cannot thrive on raw potatoes. See: http://www.ajcn.org/content/45/2/423.full.pdf. The small amount of adaptation for digesting starches that has taken place is similar to adaptations for consuming milk. Certain physiological processes (production of lactase enzyme during infancy, or amylase production necessary to digest fruits and vegetables) existed in humans before the pressures of natural selection. Humans adapted to environmental pressures by both genetic changes and cultural changes, expanding the human environment. These are as responsible for environmental destruction as any modern farming practice.

The foods available between 200,000 (emergence of anatomically modern humans) and 50,000 years ago would have been animal foods (not dairy, and only if we could hunt successfully), nuts and seeds (very limited), fruits and vegetables (the ones that wouldn't have required cooking to fully assimilate). On a spectrum of diets between a paleo diet and the diet of a chimpanzee, the historic early human diet would have been more like that of the chimpanzee. Most calories would come from fruit (80-95%), a portion from vegetables (5-10%), a small amount from nuts and seeds (1-2%) and a small amount from animal flesh (1-2%). They might vary with the easy with which they could be obtained.

I followed an "raw paleo diet" for some months with the idea that the diet should be meat-heavy. I tried eating lean meats combined with moderate amounts of fat (suet & marrow) and separate meals of fruits and veggies. I found that I lost weight, too much in fact (my BMI fell from 20.7 to 17.3). The high amount of protein suppressed my appetite so much that I was not eating enough. At the same time, the raw meat and fat was completely unappetizing. My instincts told me I should only be eating fruits and veggies, of the foods that were available. The only animal flesh that had any taste to it were organ meats and shellfish.

I took a break from the diet, returned to eating the SAD, gained the weight back (a big plus).

Next I tried a "zero carb" version of the "raw paleo diet", eating 100% animal products. Once I got my protein consumption down to 20% of my calories (or sometimes a little less), I could follow the diet without losing too much weight (my BMI only fell to 18.3). At this point I was eating around 8 oz. of fat each day. Eating, however, was not enjoyable at all. It was a chore, which kept me from being hungry. I never adapted to ketosis, even after a month eating this way. I often felt weak and foggy in the head. I enjoyed organ meats a little, and shellfish a lot. I finally realized that it had something to do with the carbohydrate (i.e. sugar) content of the animal foods. Clearly, my instincts were to eat carbohydrates.

I abandoned the paleo diet, trusting my instincts that I needed carbohydrates. I transitioned to eating a (cooked) vegan diet. While this was a great improvement over the paleo diet and I felt much more satisfied with the food and had more energy overall and better mental clarity, I was very aware of how heavily the food sat in my stomach. From eating "paleo" I knew that small meals of only meat, or only fruit, digested very easily and quickly in my stomach. Cooked starches require so much energy to digest that activity after a meal has to be reduced to that the body can properly digest the food. Also, the food is completely unappetizing without the addition of salt, spices, seasonings, sugar and oils. All of these present health problems, hence my desire to avoid using them, which only made my food bland and unpalatable.

Finally, it occurred to me that I had it wrong. A true evolutionary diet would have been more like a chimp diet than the paleo diet. Meat would not have been a large part of the diet since it is unappetizing. It would only have been scavenged when other foods were unavailable. Shellfish would have tasted good and "hunting" for them can be easy, but they were not generally available in our evolutionary environment. Grains and tubers are not particularly edible in their raw state, leafy plants cannot make up the bulk of the diet due to physical constraints and again are not very palatable, and nuts are not in great enough abundance. Fruit must have made up the bulk of the diet. Fruit tastes good and can be found in abundance all year in the tropics of Africa. No other whole food is easier for humans to digest.

I do not think that animal foods were ever so significant a part of the human diet (for long enough time) that we need to consume them. We can eat maybe 1-2% of our calories from animal foods without serious ill health effects, but as such foods are unnecessary and hence unethical, I do not eat any. Humans are omnivores, but that does not mean that we need to eat meat, only that we can eat it in appreciable amounts if necessary for survival. A low-fat, raw vegan diet is the optimal diet for health, as well as the most ethical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just an update:

In March of this year (2012) I adopted a hygienic (80/10/10) diet, or low-fat raw vegan diet.

I have not eaten any nuts, seeds or fatty fruits. I had to switch to low-fat cooked vegan for

a short time, but since the end of May I have been 100% raw, my diet consisting of about

1 pound or more of a variety of tender leafy greens each day, and the balance made up of

whole, fresh, ripe, raw, minimally processed fruits, mostly tropical fruits. I only eat

monomeals, and often eat one kind of fruit for several days (bananas, mangoes,

watermelon, etc.). None of the 15 or so wholesalers sell organic fruit or vegetables, so I

am stuck with non-organic for now. I eat as much as I want, and get plenty of exercise; I

run, bike, and walk. I have been getting lots of sun, about 6 hours every week of full-body

exposure between 10AM and 2PM, and have the deepest tan that I have had since I was

10 years old. I get plenty of rest, around 9-10 hours each day (I find breaking my sleep

into two periods of the day to be most natural and restful), and plenty of water (3 or more

liters per day). My urine is almost always clear. I have a lot of energy but not too much (no

nervous energy), and good mental clarity. I feel better than I can ever remember feeling,

and my teeth appear to be healing. I have noticed that my gums that were receding have

begun to cover the area that was exposed, and dental plaque is disappearing, and I do not

use toothpaste or mouthwash. I floss with unflavored, waxed floss and I brush my teeth

with a dry toothbrush and occasionally I scrape my tongue.

I wholeheartedly recommend a hygienic diet and lifestyle to allow the body heal and reach

its full potential.
 
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