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Did Your Ancestor Look Like This?

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Blue eyes and dark skin. This is what one of your ancestors may have looked like before the adoption of agriculture, 7,000 years ago, based on a new DNA analysis of a well-preserved skeleton. Here’s some more information about him:

He was probably lactose intolerant and had more difficulty digesting starchy foods than the farmers who transformed diets and lifestyles when they took up tools in the first agricultural revolution.

Washington Post: DNA shows ancient hunter had blue eyes, dark skin

For fans of the “Paleo Diet” and other get-back-to-nature notions, the study brings some good news, suggesting that people carry around plenty of genes left over from their primeval forebears.

National Geographic: Blue-Eyed Hunter-Gatherers Roamed Prehistoric Europe, Gene Map Reveals

The news articles are based on this DNA analysis of skeletal remains from a Spanish hunter-gatherer.

More on paleo diets

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LA Lakers Go Low-Carb!

Dwight Howard, one of the players who changed his diet

Dwight Howard, one of the players who changed his diet

More and more athletes discover the advantages of eating good food and avoiding nutrition-poor sugar and bread. The low-carb paleo diet is getting big.

Many people have pointed me to the new article series from CBS Sports on how the basket ball team LA Lakers has changed its philosophy and removed most carbohydrates from the player’s diet:

Continue Reading →

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Paleo vs Cupcake: Good News!

Paleo

I’m at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Atlanta at the moment. It’s the Paleo conference of the year.

One of the highlights of the first day was the new lecture by Hamilton Stapell, Ph.D., called “The End of Paleo”. He argues that Paleo will remain a fringe movement and never go mainstream, for many reasons.

I tend to agree, although I hope that some of the most important components will go mainstream (e.g. that excess sugar and flour is bad for our weight and health).

And perhaps there is some cause for celebration. Stapell showed the slide above, demonstrating that Google searches for “paleo diet” worldwide trails the searches for “cupcake”.

Statistics should always be taken with a grain of salt though. It’s all about how it’s presented. Continue Reading →

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13 Pretty Good Low Carb Resources

There’s been a lot of debate about low carb in the Paleo community lately. Some people look at this debate in full black-or-white mode. Either Paleo must be very low-carb OR macronutrients do not matter at all. That’s sad.

Other people, like Richard Nikoley, are more pragmatic and able to see (50) shades of grey. Nikoley just listed a few good low carb blogs:

Free the Animal: 13 Pretty Good Low Carb Resources

Diet Doctor is at the top of the list. Thanks!

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The Paleo Movement of a Hundred Years Ago

Is the Paleo movement something new, or is it just a repetition of something that has happened before?

The lecture that impressed me the most at the Ancestral Health Symposium 2012 has just been posted online. Here’s Hamilton Stapell, Ph.D., comparing the Paleo movement to the “Physical Culture” movement of the early 1900’s. The similarities are startling. Better diet with less sugar and processed crap? Check. Strenght training á la Crossfit? Yep. Intermittent fasting? Sure. Sun exposure? Yes. Barefoot walking? Absolutely.

Both movements are about a “return to nature” in a stressful and disorienting new world, according to Stapell. They’re a reaction to rapid social, economic and technological changes.

If the movement of the early 1900’s were a reaction to the Second Industrial Revolution, the Paleo movement of today is a reaction to the Digital Revolution (sometimes called the Third Industrial Revolution).

Stapell’s argument raises some intriguing questions. Will the fast-growing Paleo movement of today go mainstream, or will it stay fringe until it fizzles out? Stapell was asked that in the Q&A (not in the video). He hesitated a bit and then said that… no, he did not believe Paleo will go mainstream.

I think Stapell might be right. This “return to nature” Paleo concept is very powerful today, but in ten years time running around barefoot might feel very passé.

What I believe is truly important is to make some core concepts in the original Paleo movement go mainstream. Like the focus on human evolution for understanding what’s likely to be healthy today (followed by controlled trials to prove it, of course). And most of all, in the middle of a disastrous epidemic of obesity and diabetes, to realize that we are not genetically adapted to today’s extremely insulinogenic processed high carb junk food.

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Paleo and Calories?

The recent trend towards calorie counting in Paleo land is baffling. Some people need a reality check. There’s nothing less Paleo than counting calories.

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