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  1. This is, without question, one of the best blog posts I have read in a very long time. I am a walking testimony to what happens when a person follows your advice and "Real Food Pyramid". I have not had this kind of energy level or mental clarity in years. All this after only following it for 10 days! Keep up the outstanding work, Diane. You are changing lives.

  2. @Karina- Wow, thank you for the kind words. It's my pleasure to be able to write about topics that not only get me fired up, but help educate people to make positive changes in their lives. Thanks for reading!

    1. I think raw milk is okay if you tolerate it, though I recently heard an interview with Loren Cordain where he mentioned that unless you know that the cows are naturally pregnant and not artificially-so, that you may be getting hormones in the milk that you weren’t expecting. It was on this show (Cordain only comes on 1/2 way through it):

      I don’t personally consume dairy foods on a regular basis. And by that I mean maybe a couple of bites of cheese here or there at a restaurant once or twice a month if that. That’s where I stand today, tomorrow I may stand somewhere else.

  3. @Susan-

    Thanks for the comment.

    I am a fan of grass-fed raw dairy for those who can tolerate it and who are not looking to lose weight. In general, I tend to believe that an animal's milk is intended for consumption by their young, but I do think that raw cheese is quite tasty from time to time. I'd not incorporate it into my own personal daily diet, but if it's well-sourced and, again, someone isn't looking to lose weight, it can be healthy.

    Organic dairy really is pretty meaningless in the scheme of things, but if you're going to get something that's not raw or grass-fed, I'd definitely opt for organic over conventional.

    Diane 🙂

  4. I've been a victim of the stupid Food Pyramid (may as well have buried me in it like a mummy)and have chronically damaged health because of it. Little by little I'm coming back to life from chronic inflammation, arthritis, malabsorption, obesity, hair loss, adrenal fatigue and severe anemia by eating real food FAT and all!! I get 80% of my food from an organic, family farm. My health is coming back slowly. I reblogged a portion of your blog today and linked back to you!! Thanks for always providing the best information 🙂

  5. I've read this before, but got back here again somehow . . .
    I'm committing to a paleo/primal 2011, and not just a 2 month stint, as I did in June/July of 2010. I K.N.O.W. it's right, regardless of all the static around me spouting otherwise.
    I'm 2/3 through Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, and believe this to be a book every single person should read before making decisions about this stuff. Most people won't read it, though, because of the size of it, and a lot don't really want to know the truth – then they'll have to "give up all the stuff they love" :/
    I just threw in The Great Cholesterol Con by Dr Malcolm Kendrick (pretty sure that's his name) before finishing up GCBC in the next couple of weeks.
    I've got Dangerous Grains, and Wolf's Paleo Solution sitting here waiting in line.

    It's going to take a lot more work to be this way, specifically, if you're going to someone's house to eat, you have to bring your own (at least I will: my mother-in-law just stopped eating egg yolks because the doctor told her her cholesterol is high, and put her on you-know-what – don't get me started).

    Keep the posts coming. I don't remember how I found you, but glad I did!!!

  6. I like your pyramid, and your article makes me wonder about gov’t influence in primary school curriculum. Since the USDA pyramid is built by the gov’t but influenced by manufacturers, and then taught in elementary schools, this is almost like a generic form of advertising to children of the “right” foods to buy.
    I’m curious if you can you support your statement that Americans are getting “sicker and is dying earlier than ever before?” I’ve noticed a few recent articles that state the life expectancy is lengthening. What statistics are you using?

    1. Perhaps I should have stated “being stricken with more lifelong autoimmune conditions” in that sentence as it’s more what I meant. I was speaking anecdotally in that sentence, however, I know from my experience in working with clients that people are being diagnosed with conditions that they’ll deal with FOR LIFE at younger and younger ages. It’s very sad to me, but it’s the reality now. So perhaps they “live” longer but are “dead” way before they actually cease being alive?

      Your thoughts?

      I may edit that sentence- I like this reconsideration.

  7. Wow, Thank you for this post. I am currently studying Nutrition to gain a broader understanding for myself. Being a Celiac with other food intolerances I had the hardest time just dealing with this pyramid (the Gov’t one) because it went against everything I’ve learned or grew up with. I find I just couldn’t even begin to fit in because of my dietary restrictions but also because I eat so much more whole foods and nutrient dense whole foods, including raw milk products occasionally, and they don’t even take those foods into consideration. Most of my foods when figuring out your “diet” and recommendations aren’t even recognized by the system, like coconut milk, or quinoa cooked in a vegetable broth. It’s been a ride. 🙂 Thank you again for this post, makes so much more sense biologically and healthwise.

  8. Just 1 question to ask.
    I live in the UK and am just starting to get to grips with Paleo eating. however my withis a vegetarian and refuses to eat meat but will consume dairy and eggs. I was just wondering if you could give me examples of healthy protein sources that fit the Paleo model for vegetarians.

    1. Those animal sources are the best. If she will eat fish, that’s also great- wild forms are ideal. If she is looking for fat loss, dairy may not be the best choice. If she is just looking for general health, then finding the best forms of dairy (ideally raw) might be okay for her. I have a food quality guide on my Useful Guides page.

  9. First off, I love your blog! I think it’s great and I pass it along all the time. Now, I have a question.. I fairly recently started eating paleo and the results have been great. I have more energy throughout the day and recover from workouts so much faster. I just generally feel better. But here’s my problem– I have an extremely fast metabolism, making it difficult for me to feel satisfied If i just eat, say, a few oz of chicken and some veggies. I don’t want to have to eat sweet potatoes all the time! (obviously that wouldn’t be ideal)…but… I’m already on the “thin” side…… bout 5’3 and 113-4 lbs. I would want to gain a little more muscle as well, but it’s been a little difficult- anyway, so yes, what would be a good replacement for sweet potatoes? (i am also possibly being a bit ignorant here…but I would greatly appreciate your help)!! thanks a lot!!

    1. I would add more protein and fat your diet. Try doubling the protein and fat at each mea- adding 1Tbsp of coconut oil for cooking or 2Tbsp of olive oil to veggies after cooking or to salads.

  10. I can hardly find anything I disagree with you on. You had me scared when you had “lean meat and fish” but then I saw you meant preferably grass-fed.

    My pyramid at the moment is based off of WAPF; i.e. grass-fed red meats > organic pork > full-fat raw milk > fermented bread and rice > fruit > omega-3 eggs > veggies > grass-fed liver > wild-caught fatty fish > poultry > anything I cook, I cook in regular butter, call me crazy, I just don’t see how the .3 grams of omega-6-laden fat per tablespoon could totally throw off any calculations; I think it’s far more important to make sure that I get 4% of my caloric intake in polyunsaturates. I avoid nuts/seeds/legumes like the plague, no time to soak plus nuts/seeds are too omega-6-laden minus macadamias which are far too expensive. I also invest in boullion cubes.

  11. I think these points need to be reiterated as the “real food pyramid” seems like the “carbophobic pyramid” I’m not sure if vegetables include potatoes or if fruits include “high glycemic” fruits varieties but I have seen these things be frowned upon in the paleo world because grains and beans are mostly carbohydrates as well.

    “In a normal physiological scenario the body is adapted to handle increased amounts of glucose or FFA in plasma. Is abnormal to have both substrates high at the same time. If this happens it means that you have a dysregulated metabolism. And here is where the main problems of interpretation arise when evaluating pathological IR. Some say the culprit is high glucose. Others say its lipotoxicity. This last mechanism has gotten much attention lately because of the rise of carb conscious bloggers who dismiss the insulin/carbohydrate hypothesis. Lipotoxicity is the mechanism by which high plasma FFA concentrations produce deleterious metabolic effects. Lets think for a second. We store energy as fat. We use energy as fat. We store fat mainly as palmitate (the principal muscle IR agent and responsible for modern diseases). When we need energy, we hydrolize TG and free palmitate into plasma. High palmitate and high FFA produces lipotoxicity and IR, so then, are we designed to kill ourselves? The answer is obviously no. Lipotoxicity only occurs if there is a mismatch between lipolysis and beta-oxidation. For instance, there is evidence that saturated FA trigger a specific inflammatory response in coronary artery endothelial cells (1), lipoapoptosis (2) and endothelial dysfunction (3). When skeletal muscle cells are exposed to increased levels of palmitate, we see that the deleterious effects build-up dose dependently (4). This means that while myocites can handle a physiological increase in palmitate, they start to develop defense mechanisms when levels rise to pathological. This only occurs in abnormal or broken** metabolisms, like in T2DM. Having endothelial cells chronically exposed to very high FFA is bad, so muscle cells try to reduce this exposure by storing lipids as IMTG”

    “In real science although some statements can be made “in general” that never means they are “absolute.” In terms of insulin resistance, it is not hyperinsulinemia that is the problem; it is the receptor. The cells are producing enough insulin but insulin receptors elsewhere in the body become insensitive the circulating insulin. More often than not “events” have occurred to cause eventual down-regulation of the insulin receptor. And the events I refer to here are almost always a matter of genetics, lifestyle, and body weight. The truth is about 80% of people with type 2 diabetes insulin resistance are obese. 80 percent! The other 20 % are almost always genetically predisposed to genetic material coded for the production of an abnormal receptor-in other words they have inherited a genetic problem that does not allow the insulin receptor to work properly. As you can see this doesn’t even remotely tend to describe active individuals or more or less people of normal or regular body weight. ”

    “The mistaken logic portrayed by the diet and fitness industry works like this: Hyperinsulinemia is a marker for several diseases. And carbohydrates ingestion causes the greatest release of insulin. Therefore the conclusion they jump to is that if you avoid carbohydrate intake or keep it to a minimum then you avoid hyperinsulinemia and therefore avoid insulin resistance. This is nonsense.

    The real truth is yes carbohydrate ingestion causes the release of insulin. But carbohydrate ingestion does not cause hyperinsulinemia. That is an unethical leap from science to agenda. The argument that X=Y and then Y=Z, does not mean X=Z. The problem is the insulin receptor, not insulin in and of itself. Stop the nonsense. The truth is high complex carbohydrate diets can lower insulin levels. And for athletes or anyone in intense regular training, a higher carbohydrate diet is truly the “correct” one.”

    Just food for thought as I have seen many people fall into the grasp of low carb paleo dogma by believing that starches and Fruits will make you fat.

    1. I don’t hold the belief that carbs will make a person fat, but processed, refined forms of them are certainly not healthy and CAN contribute greatly to the nutrient deficient states that promote obesity. I think the problem lies at a deeper level for those who have issues with their weight, and that refined/processed carb consumption can certainly play a huge role in the problem with promoting high blood glucose and insulin levels without delivering proper micronutrient value to nourish the body and aid in the metabolism of those carbohydrates. Clearly why people get fat is a complex issue, but I wouldn’t change the belief that refined/processed foods are one large contributing factor… and those foods TEND to be very carb dense (vs protein or fat, though some are pretty rich in bad/damaged fats as well). I also have a post on dense sources of paleo carbs, so I’m not carb-o-phobic, I just see no place for food pyramid or food plate propaganda in a real-food model.

    2. Diane,

      I’m pretty sure I’m in love with you. I couldn’t agree more with this post and I love your podcast. It helps me keep some sanity as I am enrolled in a graduate program with a focus on nutrition. My classes are taught by a old school Rd’s who like to bash paleo and the students just go right along with it. I don’t think they’ve really looked into it. Anyway, I often have to bite my lip and resist the urge to slap the face off someone…thanks for all u do Diane, my love!


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