[ExI] Paleo/Primal health [Was: Re: Technology, specialization, and diebacks...Re: I love the world. =)]

Max More max at maxmore.com
Sat Nov 13 05:31:40 UTC 2010

lists1 at evil-genius.com said:

>It is well established that the hunter-forager diet is superior to the
>post-agricultural diet in all respects: 

That paper is "Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health 
implications for the 21st century" by Loren Cordain, and co-authors.

Ah, a topic I've been somewhat obsessed by in recent months. I've 
discovered the literature and accompanying community for the 
paleolithic diet (and exercise and life style) and have been on a 
strictly paleo diet for at least a month. (During that time, my body 
fat has dropped a bit to 11% and my blood pressure -- both systolic 
and diastolic -- has dropped 20 points, from an already healthy 120/80.)

The proponents of a Paleo/Primal/Evo [Evolutionary Fitness] approach 
-- including Loren Cordain, Mark Sisson, Art Devany, Robb Wolff, and 
Gary Taubes (the latter doesn't quite say so in his last book, but I 
think it's a very plausible interpretation, to be confirmed in his 
imminent new book) -- don't agree on every detail, but do all affirm 
the essentials: Our physiology has not evolved to handle the diet 
we've adopted over the last 10,000 years since the advent of 
agriculture, and *especially* not all the sugars in the modern diet. 
Grains are bad, fats are not, the official Food Pyramid and 
recommendations of the AHA and AMA are disastrous and have 
contributed mightily to the obesity epidemic.

At first, I thought Loren Cordain was a bit off-base on some things, 
but he's pretty convincing and his studies appear sound. I recommend 
his website, especially the FAQ:

He has a 2002 book, but wait a month or so for the revised and 
expanded new edition:
The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You 
Were Designed to Eat

A less academically thorough but still informative and helpful source 
is Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet

Art De Vany has his own take on this, with an emphasis on exercise. 
See his "Essay on Evolutionary Fitness":

His forthcoming book:
The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us 
about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging:

A highly readable and well-grounded version of the Paleo/Primal 
approach is in Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint:

Sisson's website is a rich source of information, with an active 
community of people exploring the Paleo/Primal life style:

I urge everyone to read Gary Taubes' dense but brilliant Good 
Calories, Bad Calories:
-- and his forthcoming (December 2010) more practically-oriented Why 
We Get Fat: And What to Do About It:

Since I went Paleo for my diet (and I'm shifting my exercise routine 
in that direction, although it was not too far off already), I've 
discovered that old pal gerontologist Michael Rose is also a Paleo 
enthusiast (he says he's been on a fully paleo diet for 1.3 years). 
He gives some background on the rationale in this talk:

Cynthia Kenyon (who some of you will have heard speak back at 
Extro-3) is also on a low-carb, apparently Paleo diet, based on her 
own research.

As you might surmise, I'm quite enthusiastic about the Paleo/Primal 
diet (and related ideas). This might seem a little paradoxical for a 
transhumanist (but really isn't). Since you cannot fully engage in 
creating and enjoying the future we hope for unless you are alive, I 
urge you to take a look at this challenge to conventional wisdom 
about health and longevity.

If anyone's interested, I can post some additional URLs to useful 
sources on the topic.


Max More, Ph.D.
Strategic Philosopher
Co-editor, The Transhumanist Reader
The Proactionary Project
Vice Chair, Humanity+
Extropy Institute Founder
max at maxmore.com

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