Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finally reading 'The Primal Blueprint'

If, like me, you've read every paleo/primal book in the world except this one, time to get it. Bought it on iBooks today and it is fabulous. Packed full of great info, all written intelligently and well. I should've known, considering the Mark's Daily Apple site and blog is one of the best and most readable out there. Thanks, Mark Sisson!

(p.s. I was excited to see how long it is! More reading pleasure!)

Parties and paleo

Traveling while on the paleo diet has been pretty well thrashed out in blog-ville. You prep plenty of TSA-acceptable stuff for the airplane, pack your walnuts and seeds and tins of kippers, and just hope that when your stash runs out you're somewhere you can get some nice eggs or a steak (or in the case of my recent visit to Chez Panisse, which proved to be very paleo-friendly, amazing sea bass and arugula salad, with the delicious berries you see to the right for dessert).

And if not, you do what I do, which hasn't proved too onerous so far, you skip a meal.

Give me a choice between a bit of a fast and a bag of those awful little "snacks" consisting of oddly shaped chunks of pretzel-type objects interspersed with round unidentifiable floury-type objects that Alaska Airlines persists in handing out, I'll go hungry, thanks.

But how about dinner parties? Particularly those hosted by lovely friends you'd just as soon not offend by sitting there with an olive on your plate while everyone else is scarfing up the homemade white bean soup and rosemary bread?

Happened to me yesterday, and honestly, it wasn't that bad. Bear in mind, however, white bean soup used to be to me as candy is to your average baby. I raised my kids on vats of thick hearty homemade navy bean soup, cooked for hours with bacon or ham and plenty of onions and garlic until it was practically a solid, content in my knowledge that it was, of course, one of the healthiest meals I could possibly feed them. Oh yeah, with plenty of my homemade, hand-ground whole wheat bread. Sigh.

Anyway, I'd warned my friend in advance about my new-ish eating habits, and so she warned me that she was planning on serving the aforementioned bean soup. But, she added, she'd also have plenty of salad, plucked from the incredibly verdant garden just outside her front door, not to mention veggies as appetizers, olives and berries, etc. And I contributed a lovely gourmet Italian hard sausage just in case any of us got hungry for some meat. It was delish.

Interestingly, not only did I have plenty to eat, but two people - including the hostess - pulled me aside at various points in the afternoon to ask for more details about this new way I was eating to battle rheumatoid arthritis. At our age, most everyone's heard about inflammation and given the brilliance of my friends, pretty much all of them would prefer to deal with any problems via diet rather than medication, if at all possible. We had great conversations and absolutely no one looked the slightest bit sideways at what I was - or wasn't - eating.

Long story short, don't see parties - or traveling or stress or a tough day at work (looking at you, Monday morning) - as reason to "fall off" paleo. I'm in this thing for the long haul and the results I've seen so far, in my c-reactive protein and SED numbers, my weight, and the way my various joints feel, is more than enough reason to pass on that lovely bean soup, thank you.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Post-plane paleo

You notice the crackers, beer and bread are on the other, non-paleo side of the table! Ah, but the meat plate with the perfect mustard... all mine. Also that gorgeous sauvignon blanc. This photogenic spread was at The Forge in Seattle.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

AHS: Mind-blowing from afar

Despite being paleo for about six months now and seeing first-hand how miraculous it can be, it never really occurred to me to try to get to the first ever Ancestral Health Symposium, held in LA earlier this month. But after a few thousand #AHS tweets, blog posts and now video lectures, I can see I really missed out.

One of the lectures I just watched with Mark Sisson, aka Mark's Daily Apple, at, summed up everything good about paleo. Which is to say, everything.

I think the reason I love this whole movement is... it's so unlike a movement. It's like Groucho Marx said, I wouldn't want to be part of any organization that would have me. But it's not an "anti" sentiment, really, it's more that many of the paleo folks seem to be too busy living really interesting, intelligent, active lives to care if this is a "movement" or not.

Mark Sisson's talk, for example, was about play. I love that! Completely unpretentious. And it was fascinating! For example, did you know the average hunter-gatherer, after doing everything necessary to get him or herself fed and sheltered, had about six free hours each day to play? Do you have six free hours per day to play? And no, TV and Facebook definitely don't count.

Of course, it's really tough not to notice how great all the paleo people look. Yeah, their bodies tend to be, well, fantastic, but there's also an interested, curious alertness to them that's wonderful to see. And that seems to be true, regardless of age.

What I'm thinking may be part of the reason is that, as they - we - cut the crap out of our diets, we also cut it out of our lives. I made a gorgeous stir-fry tonight, for example, with chicken and dark green broccoli and ginger and carrots and garlic and cauliflower... and the last thing I wanted to do afterward was sit around and watch TV.

I felt good, really good. Energetic. So I went for a walk and met a woman trying out her new slack line in a park nearby. We talked for a while and now I'm wondering ... well, you know what I'm wondering.

My point is, it's all connected. And I can't wait to see where it goes from here. One thing's for sure: sign me up for AHS next year!