Our Primordial Past
Understanding Mother Nature’s Plan and Where We Fit In
What Do All the Longest-living Individuals Have in Common?
“If there is a known single marker for long life, as found in the centenarian and animal studies, it is low insulin levels.”
--Ron Rosedale, M.D., 1998
Research across the board has shown that long-lived individuals (animals and humans) share the following characteristics:
Low fasting insulin levels
Low fasting glucose
Optimally low leptin
Low percentage of visceral body fat
Lower body temperature
One single longevity marker stands out among all long-lived animals and persons above the rest, however, and that’s low insulin levels.
In July of 2009 the eagerly awaited results of a twenty-year study on the effects of caloric restriction on primates were finally published in the journal Science. Two groups of Rhesus monkeys (selected for their strong similarity to us) were studied: one group of monkeys was allowed to eat as much as they wanted, and the other group was given a sufficiently nutrient-dense diet with 30 percent fewer calories than they would normally consume. Twenty years later only 63 percent of the monkeys that ate as much as they wanted were still alive. Thirty-seven percent of them had died due to age-related causes. And the caloric restriction group? Eighty-seven percent were still alive and only 13 percent had died of age-related causes. Throughout their lives the calorically restricted group maintained superior health and aging-related biomarkers in every area: brain health, metabolic health and rate, insulin sensitivity, and cardiovascular vitality. The caloric restriction group enjoyed a threefold reduction in age-related disease! Also, they lost fat weight but maintained healthy levels of lean tissue mass. They also retained greater brain volume, which normally shrinks with age and glycation, but more than that they retained superior cognitive function. The cardiovascular disease rate of the caloric-restricted group was fully half the rate of the control group. Forty percent of the control group developed diabetes (or pre-diabetes). Not ONE single monkey in the calorically restricted group developed either. Remarkable. The available photos from the study showing examples of age-matched individuals from the two groups, which I was not able to include here, are visually striking. Stunning, even. The caloric-restricted monkeys looked almost literally half the age of the controls.
Among the most common misconceptions about monkeys and apes, incidentally, is that they are vegan animals. Though they are better adapted to making use of plant foods in some ways than we are, they also readily eat the same things we eat. ALL monkeys and apes are known to eat meat, and many even hunt for meat. The one notable exception is the mountain gorilla, and even they get some insects in their diet. Monkeys and apes are omnivores and, like us, will eat whatever might be available to them in their environment. Some even catch and eat fish! One of the reasons Rhesus monkeys were selected for this particular study, in fact, is because of their pronounced similarity to us, even in terms of diet.
There are actually several more recent studies showing significant health benefit where caloric restriction in humans is concerned. A newly released study in the Journal of Applied Research, “Clinical Experience of a Diet Designed to Reduce Aging” demonstrated that, in the context of an outpatient medical clinic, a diet high in fat (unlimited quantity), adequate in protein (50-80 grams per day), and very low in carbohydrate, with some added multivitamin and mineral supplementation, led to significant improvement in recognized serum factors related to the aging process. Patients were told to eat when they were hungry. The results also included a significant loss of body weight, a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and a reduction in levels of leptin, insulin, fasting glucose, and free T3. Despite the predominance of fat in the diet, serum triglycerides were also greatly reduced.
Of course, it’s easy to restrict overall calories with lab animals, as they have no choice in the matter. It is quite another matter to try and restrict overall caloric intake when you’re driving past fifteen fast food joints on your way home, are surrounded by constant advertisement, and have a refrigerator and cupboards full of food at your ravenous fingertips. Unless, of course, you apply the caloric restriction model in a way that does not leave you hungry--which is exactly what this book tells you how to do. Just follow the simple, most basic dietary guidelines outlined here to eat optimally well while feeling fully satisfied and living healthier, longer--and even save some real money along the way! Even while buying the best-quality grass-fed meats, produce, and wild-caught fish you can find yourself saving considerable money on groceries. The basic guideline to remember is this: greatly restrict or eliminate sugar and starch (preferably eliminating gluten completely), keep your protein intake adequate amounting to approximately 6-7 ounces of organic grass-fed and/or wild-caught meat or seafood total per day, eat as many fibrous “above ground,” nonstarchy vegetables and greens as you like, and eat as much fat (from fattier cuts of meat or fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut, butter/ghee, olives, olive oil, and the like) as you need to satisfy your appetite. The bottom line here is that natural dietary fat is not at all our enemy and that, in the absence of dietary carbohydrate and with adequate protein, it can result in a far more satisfying, longer, and healthier life overall. Simple, delicious, and satisfying. No hunger or feelings of deprivation needed, and all the benefits of supporting a longer and healthier life while saving you money. It’s better for the planet, too.
Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life
Primal Body, Primal Mind
Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life
• Provides sustainable diet strategies to curb sugar cravings, promote fat burning and weight loss, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep and moods, increase energy and immunity, and enhance memory and brain function
• Shows how our modern diet leads to weight gain and “diseases of civilization”--such as cancer, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and ADD
• Explains how diet affects the brain, hormone balance, and the aging process and the crucial role of vitamin D in cancer and disease prevention
Examining the healthy lives of our pre-agricultural Paleolithic ancestors and the marked decline in stature, bone density, and dental health and the increase in birth defects, malnutrition, and disease following the implementation of the agricultural lifestyle, Nora Gedgaudas shows how our modern grain- and carbohydrate-heavy low-fat diets are a far cry from the high-fat, moderate-protein hunter-gatherer diets we are genetically programmed for, leading not only to lifelong weight gain but also to cravings, mood disorders, cognitive problems, and “diseases of civilization”--such as cancer, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance), heart disease, and mental illness.
Applying modern discoveries to the basic hunter-gatherer diet, she culls from vast research in evolutionary physiology, biochemistry, metabolism, nutrition, and chronic and degenerative disease to unveil a holistic lifestyle for true mind-body health and longevity. Revealing the primal origins and physiological basis for a high-fat, moderate-protein, starch-free diet and the importance of adequate omega-3 intake--critical to our brain and nervous system but sorely lacking in most people’s diets--she explains the nutritional problems of grains, gluten, soy, dairy, and starchy vegetables; which natural fats promote health and which (such as canola oil) harm it; the crucial role of vitamin D in cancer and disease prevention; the importance of saturated fat and cholesterol; and how diet affects mental health, memory, cognitive function, hormonal balance, and cellular aging. With step-by-step guidelines, recipes, and meal recommendations, this book offers sustainable strategies for a primally based, yet modern approach to diet and exercise to reduce stress and anxiety, lose weight, improve sleep and mood, increase energy and immunity, enhance brain function, save money on groceries, and live longer and happier.