Why I’m Now a PrimalDoc Practitioner

by Melissa Diane Smith

A key part of my message for more than a decade has been to encourage people to eat further against the grain than they are accustomed to or even than they think they should. If you stop and think about it, reducing or avoiding grains in one’s diet and eating more vegetables in their place is really eating more of a Paleolithic (or Stone Age hunter/gatherer) diet. A good portion of the clients I counsel gradually adopts this diet or goes more and more that way as time goes on, especially when dealing with serious health conditions.

It shouldn’t be surprising then why I have joined the PrimalDocs list of Healthcare Practitioners. Primal is another way of saying mostly Paleo, or a modern-day version of the Paleolithic, diet. It also means first or of primary importance. Chris Armstrong has developed a site that showcases nutritionists, doctors, and other healthcare practitioners who advocate this healing diet that humans evolved on and the science behind that diet, and I am happy to be included on the site with the other practitioners who are listed. You can read about me and my diet philosophy on the PrimalDocs site here. It’s worth noting that Armstrong, the creator of the Celiac Handbook website, moved from a gluten-free diet to a grain-free Paleolithic diet and experienced numerous health benefits.

If you don’t know much about the Paleolithic diet, let me give you a quick rundown. In previous posts, I have written about how the Paleolithic hunter/gatherer diet is extremely effective at reducing waist sizes and lowering blood sugar levels in people with heart disease and type 2 diabetes or other blood sugar problems, and it improves a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors in healthy, sedentary people in as little as ten days.

The hunter/gatherer diet (which is free of grain and dairy products) also is more satiating per calorie than a Mediterranean diet that includes whole grains and dairy products. In a 2010 study, people who ate a Paleolithic diet consumed significantly fewer calories per day than people who ate a Mediterranean diet. However, despite the reduced amount of calories, those eating a hunter/gatherer diet were just as satisfied. This is noteworthy because a diet that satiates more per energy unit is helpful in preventing and treating overweight and obesity and associated diseases. Of course, I have seen that in practice with my clients, especially with those with weight problems and those who have metabolic syndrome (a cluster of common heart disease risk factors), heart disease, prediabetes, or diabetes. The Paleolithic diet works like a charm when numerous other diets that clients had previously tried didn’t. And why wouldn’t it? It’s our ancestral diet, the diet humans evolved on and thrived on.

Even though you might have not thought about it in that way before, if you’re going further against the grain with your diet, you’re gradually going more Paleo. And if you would like to so you can get the health improvements you want but don’t know how, sign up for a nutrition coaching program or counseling sessions with me to help you put the diet into modern everyday practice. If you need a physician to work with who is more “up” on this approach, be sure to look for a medical doctor on the PrimalDocs site.

Copyright © 2012 Melissa Diane Smith

Selected References:

Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Erlanson-Albertsson C, et al. A Paleolithic diet is more satiating per calorie than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Nutrition & Metabolism, Nov 30, 2010;7:85.

Smith Melissa Diane. Grain-free, dairy-free diet improves cardiovascular risk factors in sedentary people in 10 days. Against the Grain Nutrition News & Notes, Feb. 17, 2009.

Smith, Melissa Diane. More on the 10-day, grain-free, dairy-free diet study. Against the Grain Nutrition News & Notes, Feb. 27, 2009.

Smith, Melissa Diane. Paleolithic diet improves glycemic control, cardiac risk factors better than standard diabetes diet. Against the Grain Nutrition News & Notes, Sept, 10, 2009.

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