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I know there are many studies, but this is purely anecdotal. I do a fair amount of exercise, running, etc., and work outside a lot doing physical stuff. For quite sometime, I had been really experiencing muscle aches, you know, the kind that you get after a hard workout. The problem was, these didn't go away. They were just always there. Nothing serious enough to limit movement or anything, just persistent muscle aches. In addition, I had a knee that began hurting on a run, (for no apparent reason,) and took WEEKS for the swelling and pain to subside.
I just chalked it up to getting older and had kind of resigned myself that it was going to be that way. Well, coincidentally, around 2 weeks ago, I got way more serious about my diet. As I have said in previous posts, I have nipped around the edges of paleo for a long time, and my weight stays pretty much under control with plenty of running. I have noticed that, since virtually eliminating refined sugars and flour from my diet, and severely limiting grains, I suddenly no longer have the "aches". The knee is now back to completely normal, as well. Did this result from the change in diet? Don't know for sure, but I have my suspicions. I haven't changed anything else in the past two weeks. All of the research I have found since, seems to indicate that sugar can cause a lot of inflammation. Our ancestors sure didn't have refined sugar, nor did they have lots of grain, flour, or grain based foods. I'm eating nearly ONLY meats, fruits and vegetables now, and I just feel so much better, from head to foot. I think I'm more alert, as well.
As I said in the beginning, this is no scientific study, and I'm not preaching to anyone, but I'm really beginning to see, and more importantly, FEEL, the effects of paleo eating. This to the point that, if you have such issues, there seems to be very little to lose by trying it. The inflammation inside your body that could be causing muscle aches, joint pain, etc., may very well be doing damage to more important "components" of your system.
I have to admit it, I'm really lucky. We live on a place with, thanks to my enterprising lovely wife, dozens of varieties of fruit, incredible vegetables (year-round), and 5 great hens that give us eggs that you just can't buy in a store! I get to watch our kids pick and eat organic fruit right off of the trees. That kind of food is what these paleo bodies need for healthy functioning. As I have mentioned, I often run (minimalist - Xero Shoes), with our two German Shepherds trotting ahead, waiting patiently for their slow running partner. They need to run, too, because at least one of them has developed a taste for whatever fruit he can find within reach. (He also went ancestral on me and helped himself to a chicken once, but that's another story!.......)
My wife has bought a great dehydrator, (Its a Sedona-check one out when you have time) and serves up incredible concoctions from all of the fruits and vegetables.
Having all of this available, it really makes you appreciate that it can be difficult for some to eat naturally, in places where it's tougher to get. That being said, it CAN be done! If you go to the grocery store to get your food, the outside perimeter of the store (sans dairy case) is the place to go. All of the packaged, frozen, etc. stuff is in those interior aisles and freezer cases. The outside walls of almost any such store have the fruits, vegetables, and meat cases. That's where the FOOD is; keep that in mind. Your ancestors were limited to that area. If you look at the market that way, you'll find all that you NEED for sustenance. The cookies, cereal, chips, candy, sodas, bread, flour, pasta, etc. is in that middle section. Those are things designed (get it?-designed, as in manufactured, made, created) by people to tempt your palate with salt, sugar, msg, all the things you don't need, but may make something have a LOT of taste. That's the entertainment section, not the FOOD section. Keep that in mind and you'll get in and out of that place with only FOOD in your bag.
The term "Simulate the Hunt" (c) is one that I came up with to describe what you really need to do when you're trying to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. Our distant ancestors obtained their nourishment by hunting game, picking fruit from trees, gathering wild vegetables, raiding bird's nests for eggs, and the like. All that took something that is missing in our method of getting our food today..........EFFORT.
Ogg didn't run for hours or miles, climb trees, rummage through bushes, etc., to seize a box of doughnuts. He (and Mrs. Ogg, who we will call.........Oggalina, by the way), caught and killed small animals, large animals if lucky, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, etc. Essentially what was available. They grabbed eggs when they could, climbed, etc.
We walk into a fast food place, plunk down a couple of pieces of paper money and walk out with a bag containing 1500 calories. We spent, probably, 10 calories walking in from the car in order to get it. When Ogg caught and killed something, he may have been chasing it for an hour.
In short, our bodies are the same as they were 50,000 years ago when that's how we got our food. They're not adapted to the current onslaught of high carbohydrate, high salt, concentrated sugar content of today's foods. Our bodies evolved over a couple of million years to live on meat and plant material. Our society, in it's incredible explosion, particularly in the past 10,000 years, has developed much easier ways of getting food. Our bodies have not had time to evolve to handle it, therefore we get fat, then have the health problems that go along with eating this way.
If you keep in mind, everyday, what your body is made to do, and is expecting you to do, you can stay healthy. Don't load it up with sugar, processed flour, butter, cheese, etc. and you'll see your weight drop and your health improve. Get the exercise needed to burn the calories that you consume, that is, "Simulate the Hunt" (c), and your body won't keep storing fat at such a high rate. It's a simple equation. Food in=energy output=almost no fat storage.
I've been toying with paleo for a long time. It can kind of get lost in the shuffle with kids, schedules, etc. This past couple of weeks, I've really tried to stick to it as strictly as possible. I've probably been at about 90%. The main thing is cutting out stuff with refined sugar totally. My weight has dropped, aches and pains are gone, etc.
I wanted to just set out the basics. You can get the books and read as much detail as you think you need, but here it is in a nutshell
If you couldn't catch it, kill it, pick it or gather it, you're better off not eating it.
I sure wish I knew the answer to this. It seems to be rampant. If you look around, while you are out and about, particularly at this time of year, you will see it everywhere. In my humble opinion, it is the result of a high-carbohydrate diet, full of sugar, dairy, and flour. The calories (kcal) are just too easy to come by. They require no energy output to obtain, and, frankly, high salt, and high sugar foods.........TASTE GOOD! I'll admit it. They do. Our manner of eating has changed to the point that the nutritional value of food is secondary (or worse) to the flavor.
We almost never eat just for nourishment now. We eat for fun. Everyone likes to have fun. Unless YOU change that, it won't get better. Our ancestors hunted and gathered food for sustenance. We grab food for fun or comfort. That's why the society is getting fatter.
So much of our society is centered around the preparation, consumption, and enjoyment of food. People celebrate with food, mourn with food, get together with food, mark nearly every occasion with food of some type. The holidays are the worst. There is food EVERYWHERE! There are also people with ever-expanding waistlines EVERYWHERE. Our society has institutionalized the consumption of food. It is no longer nourishment. There are clubs, associations, etc whose very existence is related to the consumption of some type of food or drink. It wasn't always this way.
Our distant ancestors obviously ate and drank. The difference is, they ate what they could find or catch, and drank water. I'm sure that Ogg enjoyed that piece of meat from the rabbit or deer that was caught. I'm sure he enjoyed slaking his thirst by dipping cool water from a stream with his cupped hands on a hot day. Over the millennia, however, people have begun to make food and drink the center of many social worlds. Couple that with the lowered requirement of physical activity, and you have the recipe for, and one of the causes of. rampant obesity, heart disease, etc.
I am not confident that is will or even CAN change at this point, but change is sorely needed. Until we, as a society, start looking at food as NUTRITION, we will continue on our present course. Everyone has a favorite food or foods. Let's face it, they taste good! They leave your stomach full. We can lay our hands on a couple of thousand kcalories on a moment's notice. To fix this problem, the only thing you can do is
to change your whole way of looking at what you eat. If you eat for pleasure or flavor, the problem will continue. You need to get hold of yourself, and EAT FOR NOURISHMENT.
Well, that's an appetizing heading, isn't it?! That's exactly what millions of people will do in the next three or four weeks. At home, at work, you name it. Lot's of happy, well-meaning people will load up themselves and their friends, neighbors and co-workers with countless plate fulls of over-sugared, high simple carbohydrate,.................CRAP! It will TASTE GOOD.
"Just one piece of fudge won't hurt, after all, my co-worker spent so much time, and look, they even bought a special holiday plate to display it on! YAAAY!" "Well, look, they have the Christmas special package of FLUGAAAN HAAAS Ice Cream! I'll just get a gallon so we'll have a nice dessert tonight." "I'll just eat a small bowl." "Honey, Marjorie next door baked the kids a plate of cookies!" "I'll just have one." "Isn't this nice, my boss brought it a 3 lb. box of special Holiday chocolates with cream and nut centers!" "I just ate a couple"
Well, I know it tastes good, particularly if you're used to a lot of sugar, but this goes on for a month, and pretty soon, you've "just one'd" yourself up another pants or dress size. I know this is a rant, but it's a necessary rant. I like the taste of chocolate and ice cream and cookies and cake and.........and.....as much as the next guy, but this stuff isn't nutritious, it's just what I started this out with........CRAP! You eat this stuff, it tastes good, you get a sugar rush, then you crash when your poor pancreas does its job and pumps extra insulin into your bloodstream in a desperate attempt to counteract the sugar assault. Then you feel kind of down, and drowsy, then you have another piece of fudge for "a little pick me up", and the cycle starts all over again.
If you want to preserve your health, you've gotta get off that bus. Our old friend, Ogg, the caveman, from whom we came, undoubtedly enjoyed it when he, by chance came across a piece of fruit that had ripened, fallen, and dried per chance. The sugar gets more concentrated, but then we took it a step further, extracted the sugar from cane, etc., and then dumped it into nearly everything we eat.
It's OK to say thank you when your nice neighbor brings you that big plate of fudge. Take it in the house and throw it in the trash, then tell your neighbor how much you appreciate her effort and the nice gift she gave your family. She won't know the difference, and you'll have avoided a couple of thousand empty calories.
When your co-worker brings that holiday cake into the office, say THANKS!, and if everyone is watching expectantly, let them cut you a piece, take it back to your work area, and when nobody's looking, wrap it in that nice red & green paper napkin that they brought and put it in the trash. That's not wasting it. It will be gone, just as if you had eaten it, except your endocrine system won't be going into shock. True waste is when you eat something like that. You don't need it, it doesn't provide your body with real nutrition, and you get fat. THAT'S WASTE!!(and waist).