The “Paleo” Lifestyle

INTEREST IN THE “PALEO” LIFESTYLE IS GAINING STEAM. At the forefront of this movement is the Weston A. Price Foundation, founded thanks to the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, DDS, founder of the research arm of what is now the American Dental association. Dr. Price and others are quoted in the follow recent paper (2009) in the Journal for Dental Research. To summarize the research simply, eat and live like a cave man and you’ll have near perfect teeth and near perfect health. OK, OK, I know we don’t wanna live like cave men, but we can all get very close to that in terms of food and exercise, just by buying a freezer, contacting your local farmer and moving your diet toward 100% grass finished beef, lamb and dairy and pastured eggs. (ideally from hens with no grain supplement, but near impossible to find). For Weston Price’s original work free online, here’s the link … For a great summary of the Paleo diet from a Price / Mellanby fan / blogger … click here … The beautiful thing about transitioning to this type of eating / lifestyle is that doing so will contribute to reversing desertification / topsoil loss, pasture / woodland degradation, species extinction and global warming. For those involved in PRODUCING this type of food, I can think of few better lifestyles PLUS I know of no better way of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people than by first showing them how to feed themselves.

“Hunter-gatherers are typically characterized as being largely free from dental caries [cavities], periodontal disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, and obesity (Truswell, 1977). For instance, dental authorities report “never [having] seen paradontal [sic] disease in the Zulus living in their native reserves” (Cleave and Campbell, 1966), or Eskimos untouched by civilization with “magnificent dental development” and “so high an immunity to dental caries” (Price, 1945). The scarcity of dental CNCDs among huntergatherers coincides with an absence of systemic CNCDs. Prevalence of diabetes among Zulus living in tribal conditions was “extremely rare,” and for Eskimos it was reported to be less than 2 per 10,000 people (Price, 1945). Other diseases, such as coronary thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, gall stones, and rheumatoid arthritis, were similarly rare in populations with hunter-gatherer lifestyles such as reported in Africa, Australia, or other continents prior to the adoption of Western lifestyles (Trowell, 1960). When individuals with a hunter-gatherer lifestyle transitioned to Western lifestyles as a result of agriculturization, migration, colonization, or other circumstances, CNCDs appeared. Within this context, CNCDs are referred to as diseases of civilization, degenerative diseases, Western diseases, diseases of modernization, or New World diseases. The change from native foods to modern foods in one Eskimo community was reportedly associated with a 144-fold increase indental caries (Price, 1945). The prevalence of diabetes in this community is now considered “a major public health problem” (Acton et al., 2002). Zulus transitioning to Western lifestyles experienced a quick deterioration of periodontal tissues and an increase in the prevalence of diabetes from rare to that observed in Westerners (Cleave, 1974). Ethiopian Jews migrating to Israel were afflicted by a six-fold increase in caries rates (Sarnat et al., 1987) and “a rapid deterioration in periodontal status” that occurred hand-in-hand with the development of “early signs of risk factors for diabetes” (Trostler, 1997). Several other diseases typical of civilization have been documented in human migration studies: allergies (Geller-Bernstein and Kenett, 2004), cancers (Stemmermann et al., 1979), and cardiovascular diseases (Robertson et al., 1977). These nutrition transition reports are typically narrative—and consequently reflect a low level of evidence—but are convincing because of the consistency of the reports across investigators, populations, and scientific disciplines. Some reports suggested that the CNCDs associated with nutrition transitions were reversible (Price, 1945; O’Dea et al., 1980; O’Keefe and Cordain, 2004), a finding which is consistent with World Wars I and II evidence.

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