This week I had the pleasure of chatting with researcher and author Paul Jaminet. Paul wrote the excellent book Perfect Health Diet and is a super scientifically-minded guy with no agenda other than helping people to be healthier. I deeply enjoyed his book, and I hope you will enjoy our chat!
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Jonathan: Hey, everyone. Jonathan Bailor here with another bonus Smarter Science of Slim podcast. I’ve got to tell you, it is a cold and rainy day here in Seattle, Washington, Monday morning, but it is sunny inside because we are fortunate enough to be joined today by an incredible author and researcher – a gentleman by the name of Paul Jaminet, who wrote a book that I read over the holiday season called The Perfect Health Diet, which I’ve got to tell you – there are a lot of health and fitness books and I’m usually happy if I get one or two nuggets from a book because there’s a lot of redundancy, as we’ve all probably experienced, but Paul’s book is just a breath of fresh air. It’s got an amazing amount of science in it and just well written. I really, really enjoyed it and I can’t speak more highly of it. So happy to have you here today, Paul. Welcome!
Paul: Thank you, Jonathan. It’s great to be with you.
Jonathan: Paul, I was hoping we could get started by you just telling us a little bit about your story – so what you do, how you fill your time, what led you to write this book – and I know you and your wife… There’s a personal element here and I’d love to dig into that, if you don’t mind.
Paul: Yeah, well, my wife and I – we’re both scientists by background. I used to be a physicist. She’s still a biomedical scientist and cancer researcher at Harvard Medical School and a major hospital here, but we both have some significant health problems in middle age. She had endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts and hypothyroidism and other problems. I had a variety of conditions that were physically impairing and it’s like rosacea, but the most concerning to me were neurological issues like memory loss, very slow reactions, balance problems; and the memory loss became so severe that I felt like I was becoming disabled from working or was in danger of that and decided I’d better drop all my other work and focus on health for a while and try to figure out why this was happening.
I was only in my 40s, and it’s kind of fortunate that it happened at a young age because if I was 60 or 70, I would just assume that it was Alzheimer’s or something and that it wasn’t so extraordinary that I should investigate it. Anyhow, so we came across the Paleo diet and started that and that had a very helpful effect in some ways, but also had some problems; but we were excited to have a starting point that gave us some clues that maybe we should be focusing on diet and on an ancestral lifestyle as well and that that would be a fruitful track to go investigate to try to figure out how to improve our health. So we’ve ended up spending the last 7 years working on it and our health improved tremendously over that time and it was really a scientific journey for us, too.
You mentioned that our book has a lot of science. Like I said, we started from a Paleo template, but in thinking from a scientific perspective – how can we figure out what the optimal human diet is? That led us into sort of a more general perspective on evolutionary selection – what does it tell us – and also because my wife’s background is in biology – molecular and cellular biology – and I’ve always been curious about that, so we’re both fairly sophisticated in terms of our biological understanding, and so we were very interested in starting from a cellular perspective – ‘what kind of nutrients do we need?’ – and sort of building up a view of our diet on sort of a cellular biology level. So we sort of came at things from a different direction.
There really haven’t been many biologists who have looked into diet. The academic departments that focus on diet are often schools of public health, like at Harvard, where they do epidemiology and so on, and they’re not really biologists. Likewise, evolutionary biologists haven’t really worked a lot on diet. The anthropological perspective that performs a lot of Paleo community is very helpful, but it also doesn’t lead to a very precise definition of the optimal diet because there have been so many variations in hunter-gatherer diets. Hunter-gatherers living in the tropics eat very differently than those in the Arctic. So it’s not that easy by the approaches other people have taken to figure out what the optimal human diet is and I think the approach that we chose of looking at it – evolutionary biology and nutritional biology – really demonstrated themselves to be a lot more fruitful and enabled to give us a really solid perspective on what the best human diet is.
Jonathan: That’s just fascinating, Paul. I think it’s a wonderful distinction you made where you and your wife really approached this problem from both sides. You started with a macro perspective and then you also brought in this micro perspective, and the fact that you could come at it from both angles simultaneously is really… I think you hit the nail on the head. I think that’s why your work is so unique and so beneficial. What I wanted to ask you as a followup is, what would you say are the three or so most common or ‘worst’ – if we want to use that word – mainstream myths that, if you are unfamiliar with the Paleolithic approach or if you’re unfamiliar with actual biology of how the human body works, just getting your nutrition and lifestyle information from the mainstream media – what are the three things your research would say we should most watch out for?
Paul: Well, I would say, probably the single biggest thing is vegetable seed oils and omega-6 fats. I believe those have a tremendous negative effect on our health and people just eat too much of them and that’s been the single biggest change probably over the last 100 years of diet because we’ve figured out how to cheaply manufacture all these omega-6-rich fats from seeds that were never part of the human diet until chemists could figure out how to take the toxins out of them.
Jonathan: Paul, just real quick – when you say the omega-6 fats, can you tell us the most common sources of where people would be eating these?
Paul: Well, just about all packaged foods and industrial-prepared foods use these oils. If you look on the ingredient list of things you see in the supermarket, you’ll see soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, canola oil. These are all seed oils that are not healthy for us, but they are the cheapest oils to produce because seeds produce these oils in large quantities. The healthiest plant oils for us generally come from tropical plants, like coconuts, or actually from green plants; but if you’ve ever tried to press oil out of spinach, you don’t get very much. For a factory or an industrial food production system that wants to get the cheapest possible food, it’s much easier to take a waste product, like cottonseeds, for instance, and press the oil out of those and figure out how to remove the toxins with chemistry than it is to try and squeeze oils out of algae or something like that where the oils would be much healthier for us.
Jonathan: So from a practical perspective, if I am a busy mother of three and I am trying to decide which oils to use, would you say cooking with a coconut and topping salads with an olive is generally a good approach or how would you optimize that?
Paul: Yeah, basically any animal fat is generally pretty good and tropical plant oils – so things like coconut milk, coconut oil, olive oil is pretty good, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil. Most plants from the tropics have pretty healthy oils. In general, grains and seeds, especially ones they grow in Northerly conditions, like wheat or corn, are generally pretty unhealthy. Those are the ones to avoid, but of course those are the ones that are most abundantly produced in the United States and other western countries. So it’s a real challenge. If you just eat the foods that are most commonly available in the supermarket or at restaurants, most restaurants use cheap ingredients because profit margins are slim and that’s also what their customers are used to so people don’t complain.
Jonathan: So it sounds like the general guidance sometimes we hear – and I know I like to tell people – which is, if it’s packaged, basically if it’s in the middle of the grocery store, if it doesn’t need to be refrigerated or frozen, that’s a good sign that it may contain these unhealthy oils.
Paul: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. I think it’s changing a little bit. I’ve noticed that there’s slightly more packaged foods made with good ingredients than there were five years ago, but it’s still the overwhelming majority are just made out of the cheapest and lowest-quality ingredients and many of them are unhealthy. Really to be healthy, the best thing to do is to shop around the perimeter of a supermarket and cook for yourself.
Jonathan: That makes a lot of sense. So that’s the first one where it sounds like it had the biggest impact on you and your wife’s health and certainly a massive amount of research has been done about avoiding these processed and unnatural seed oils. I’m even fascinated in the research for my second book – just seeing the type of inflammation these cause and how they impact the brain’s regulation of weight and other metabolic processes is a fascinating emerging field of research – so I definitely echo you there. What would you say the second most common or worst mainstream myth we need to work to dispel would be, Paul?
Paul: Well, I would say people eat, first of all, too many carbs, but more importantly, the wrong carbs. People eat a lot of wheat and they eat a lot of sugar, so most Americans get over 40% of calories from basically wheat products and sugar. If you go get a McDonald’s Value Meal, you’re eating the wheat bun on the hamburger and lots of sugar – lots of fructose in the soda – so both of those are harmful. Basically, fructose is a toxin if you get too much and wheat contains a lot of toxins and so people are really ill-served and also those things don’t mix well with the excess of omega-6 fats. So if you’re eating an excess of omega-6 fats, then your ability to dispose of excess carbohydrates is impaired and I think that combination has really been a big cause of the obesity epidemic.
Anyhow, so people would be well served by getting rid of those toxic sources of fat and focusing more on, first of all, getting most of their carbs from what we call safe starches, which have minimal fructose, so those are things like white potatoes and white rice. This is one area where we differ a little bit from some others in the Paleo community who would recommend more sugary plants like fruit. Fruits are fine – I eat a couple of pieces of fruit a day – but basically you should avoid added sugar and you should avoid other high-carb products like wheat.
Jonathan: Paul, I wanted to drill into this really quick because I think, for listeners, though they may have had a little alarm bell – not too big – just a little one go off in their brain when you said ‘white rice and potatoes’ and I get questions about this frequently and I think this is an awesome point for us to talk about. The goals of your work – and correct me if I’m wrong here – but part of the reason that you recommend the white rice and the potato is two-fold: One, because, like you said, it’s a version of fructose and it really, at best, may be characterized as a pure source of glucose, meaning, there’s minimal side effects to consuming these foods, minimal likelihood of any negative reaction with the body, and they are abundant sources of glucose which is a source of energy for our body. So if you need, let’s call it ‘toxin-free energy’. White rice and potatoes would be a good source for that. Is that a fair characterization?
Paul: That’s a fair characterization. I’d add a few things: One is, potatoes are actually a fairly nutrient-dense food. They have a beneficial form of fiber called resistant starch. They also have quite a few micro-nutrients. They’re an extremely rich source of potassium and some other compounds. White rice is lower in nutrient density and it’s also lower in fiber, so it is pretty fair to characterize it as mainly a source of glucose. The benefits of it are that it is extremely low in toxins, so it’s basically toxin-free after cooking. That’s not true of any of the other grains. For us, minimizing toxins is a very important part of a healthy diet.
Now, the thing about glucose – it’s not only a source of energy, it’s also a nutrient in its own right. People may be aware that roughly half the protein in the body is found in extracellular matrix. Collagen alone constitutes 30% of the protein in the body and all of those extracellular matrix proteins are substantially composed of carbohydrates, so the proteins are bonded to carbohydrates. Essentially every protein that is lodged in cellular membranes is glycosylated, so it’s actually a protein-carbohydrate conjugate, and all of the lubricating compounds in the body, like mucus, which protects your digestive tract and sinuses and is a component of tears and saliva, and hyaluron, which lubricates joints – they’re all substantially composed of carbohydrates which are all made from glucose.
Glucose is a nutrient for the body needed for your tissues to be well functioning and if people don’t eat any carbohydrates, then – some people handle that just fine – but it’s definitely a stress on the body. The body has to make the glucose that it needs from other substrates like protein and that can be a challenge for a lot of people. So actually the lowest-stress diet is to eat some glucose and rice is a very convenient source for that and it can be made into a lot of foods that people enjoy and it does make the diet easier to prepare and to eat, and more enjoyable, more convenient, and it can make it more nourishing by providing the glucose that people need.
Jonathan: Paul, I think this is such a great example of, I like to call it, the beautiful complexity that is human biology. This has been bastardized into this ‘calories in, calories out’ – it’s just about manually regulating caloric balance, which is of course just absurdity. It’s not the complete picture. What you describe here is such a great example of we all need to try, I like to say, start with that Paleolithic ancestral template – eat whole natural foods – and then depending on where you are in your life, where your goals are headed, what your individual tolerances are… For example, for you and for your wife, it sounds like a diet that provides minimal stress on the body is something which is going to be incredibly beneficial because your goals were ones of, again, allowing the body to regain a healthy status versus, for example, a weight reduction diet or a fat-loss or muscle-building or athletic performance-type diet. How much variation would you say there is from your research in what you would call ‘the perfect health diet’ based on different goals? For example, is the perfect health diet for an athlete – let’s say an explosive power-lifter – substantially different from an individual just trying to heal themselves or how much variation is there?
Paul: Well, that’s a great question! I don’t think there is that much variation. I think they are actually very close. A power-lifter will eat a lot more food than someone else, but I think the optimal proportions are pretty similar. You might tweak carbohydrate intake, 10% of energy, in either direction based on different goals, but in general, it’ll be optimal for everybody to eat pretty similarly. Usually the thing that has the biggest impact is some kind of infection or health problem. Like, it’s not uncommon for people to develop gut infections or the gut microbes really feed on carbohydrates and they may benefit from a very low-carbohydrate diet because it starves the microbes; but apart from that, generally, most people find similar proportions pretty optimal and it is generally the proportion that is lowest stress because it has the right balance and nutrients in order to construct the human body and construct new tissue.
So if you’re an athlete, you want to build muscle, you want to provide your body with all the raw materials that it needs to construct that tissue and the blood vessels and the nerves which feed it and similarly, if you’re trying to lose weight, the appetite system of our brain evolved in order to make us well nourished. So your brain is monitoring your body and if it finds you are short of some nutrient that it needs, then it stimulates appetite to make you eat. In order to lose weight, the best way to minimize your appetite is to provide your body with all the nutrients that it needs in the right balance in the right proportion so that you’re deficient at nothing and that suppresses appetite and enables you to not eat an excess of macro-nutrients which provide energy because your brain is trying to get more micro-nutrients in order to support a healthy body. So exactly the same strategy that works for an athlete – trying to give it all the materials it needs to build tissue in a healthy way – also helps to minimize appetite in people trying to lose weight and it also supports a healthy body composition because adipose tissue isn’t very nutrient-dense. If you look at an animal when you slaughter it, you’ll see the adipose tissue is basically lots of fat and not much else; whereas organ meats and other lean tissue are much more nutrient-dense when you look at the micro-nutrient composition. So if you’re eating a more nutrient-dense diet, you’re going to support a much healthier body composition, a much leaner body composition, which is good for people trying to lose weight. Just about every health problem that you may have benefits from good immune function, which is supported by a nutrient-rich, balanced diet. Just about every health problem that we know about benefits from a very similar diet and similar nutrient proportions which meet the body’s needs when there’s low stress on the body.
Jonathan: I love what you say about a body and a brain that is not properly nourished is… I mean, it’s a little bit obvious when we think about it the way you presented it, where a brain and a body that isn’t properly nourished is not going to be a healthy and happy body and it’s going to be a very stressed-out body, but if you look at the world we live in today, what are we told? We’re told basically ‘take the standard American diet’ – the sad diet which, as you mentioned, is like 40% plus just garbage carbohydrate as well as heavy in processed seed oils – ‘and just eat less of that’. So already take a highly stressful nutrient-deficient diet and just eat less of it. So now you’re even more malnourished than when you started and we wonder why that approach fails for over 95% of us, but when you describe it the way you did, it just becomes so clear. My question to you, Paul, is what do you think we can do in the mainstream to start to help people understand that it’s not about just globally eating less, it’s about eating more of the right kinds of foods so your body just behaves optimally as it is designed to?
Paul: Yeah, well, that is the crucial point. Most Americans are malnourished. They get over 60% of their calories from things that are very nutrient-poor and often toxic like vegetable seed oil, sugar, and wheat products, and then if you eat the same diet, but eat less of it, then you’re even more malnourished and that’s why diets fail, I believe. The key is eating whole foods and eating a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients that you need. I think the whole foods prescription – if you just give up those unhealthy empty-calorie sources, like the sodas and the cookies and the crackers, things that are made of wheat, vegetable seed oils, and sugar, and replace them with healthy whole foods, so many problems would go away. That’s clearly the single most important message we can give and I think it is having an impact. Many more people are embracing that message than there were just five years ago.
Jonathan: It sounds like that’s the great tip right there, Paul, because if we were to leave our listeners with three things a busy person can start to do today – it sounds like you just enumerated one of them – which is food products that are basically oil, sugar, and flour – for lack of better terms – I bet you probably also put corn on that list and potentially soy as well. Just take those and eat whole foods in place of them is point #1. Is that accurate?
Paul: Yes, that’s right.
Jonathan: Then for point #2, what would you say? Let’s say, I’ve done that. I’ve done this swap. I’m eating more whole foods in place of the packaged crap – for lack of better terms. What’s Step 2?
Paul: Well, Step 2, I would say, nutritional balance is very important. You want to get a variety of foods and we have a Food Plate, which you can find at our website which is PerfectHealthDiet.com and there’s a page there called Diet which shows our Food Plate and it’s in the shape of an apple with a yin-yang symbol in the middle of the apple and the body of the apple signifies the components of a healthy meal and the stems and the leaf – some snack foods, pleasure foods – so the components of the meal should be balanced between plant foods, animal foods, healthy fats and oils, healthy acids like vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, and a mix of vegetables like fermented and sea vegetables. In general, most of the foods should be on a food chain whose base are green, leafy plants – so either seafood which feed on algae or among animals – ruminants like beef, lamb, goat are really the healthiest foods. Things that feed on basically seeds are less healthy for us. That’s why conventionally-raised factory animals that feed mostly on grain and seed products are not as healthy for us as, say, grass-fed cows.
Probably the single biggest factor in health, once you’re eating whole foods, the next big factor is to get a good balance and to eat some of each. One thing people may not realize is that in general, whole natural plant foods don’t have many calories per pound. Even if you’re eating a low-carb diet, you’ll still generally be eating a high plant food diet. So our recommendation is by weight, to eat about maybe three-quarters plant foods and one-quarter animal foods. That still gives you up to a pound a day of meat or fish and multiple pounds of plant food and that gives you a good variety of nutrition and it’s still a low-carb diet, but you’re getting plenty of nutrition from both plants and animals.
Jonathan: I love that, Paul. So Step 2 is all about balancing – ensuring we’re getting the right ratios of foods. Step 3 – even if this isn’t Step 3, it’s one thing that I want to talk about because I think your work does a great job of looking at it and I think a lot of people have questions about it. Can we talk for Step 3 in brief of the top things to think about in terms, or should you even be thinking about, from a supplementation perspective?
Paul: Yeah. That’s a great topic. Some things in our modern lifestyle – it’s just difficult to optimize. Like, people have to work. They generally work indoors. They often work in northern latitudes. Like, I’m in Boston and in the winter it’s hard to get much sun, so it’s hard for people to optimize vitamin D, so it’s good to supplement. There are various other things that can be hard to optimize. Some people just don’t like to eat liver and don’t do it and some nutrients are only found in certain foods. Like, it’s hard to optimize your copper status if you never eat liver. People who don’t eat organ meats or who never make a bone broth – it’s hard to optimize calcium and phosphorus if you don’t make soup or broth using bones. So supplementation – it’s a tricky thing to make recommendations because you can get too much of some things, so we don’t recommend taking multivitamins because it’s easy to get too much of some things, especially things like manganese that are toxic at pretty low doses. It’s a challenge to supplement intelligently and how much you should supplement depends on what else you’re eating in terms of other food. The more nutrient-dense and balanced your diet, the less you need supplements; the more unbalanced your diet, the more you’ll benefit by supplementing from the things you’re missing.
We have an extended discussion of supplementation and suggestions. We recommend some supplemental foods that people try to eat routinely – things like egg yolks, liver, shellfish, bone broth, soups – that will help you get a balanced nutrition and we suggest some things that are just missing from most people’s diet. Agriculture and water treatment have affected our nutrient supply as well. Water was a major source of water-soluble nutrients in the past and now we have water treatment and our water is purified, so it doesn’t have any electrolytes in it and so that leads to malnourishment. Agriculture tends to diminish the content of some minerals in plant foods. A lot depends on how healthy your diet is and I think it’s good for people to educate themselves about micro-nutrition and think about sort of an individual personalized supplement regimen that may be optimal for them in light of the foods that they actually eat.
Jonathan: This description is just… I get shivers sometimes! Not to take it over the top, but the opportunity we have here…. I think one of the things that is unfortunate about the society we live in is people don’t understand just how good you can feel because we’ve gotten so far away. I mean, your example of water treatment. Even the way we’re consuming water nowadays can have a negative impact on our health and, while people may be listening, I know some of my listeners are listening right now and they’re just like, “Oh my gosh! Paul said some words – I don’t even know what they mean!” Clearly, a wealth of knowledge; but what I would encourage folks to do is, start with the basics we have outlined here and then if you have an opportunity, pick up a copy of Paul’s work and just look at it and give it some time because while it may seem complex on the surface, once you find something that works for you, there’s no better way to spend your time. Paul, you can speak to this. When you find the formulation that works for you – and Paul’s done a lot of that work for you – the impact that we’ll have, like the return on the investment is gigantic! Paul, would you agree with that?
Paul: Yeah, it’s tremendous! It’s by far the best thing you can do for your health. People spend a lot of money on health insurance and they spend a lot of time going to doctors, but the things doctors can do for you, like pharmaceutical drugs and surgeries and so on, just don’t have much impact on your health. They can’t eliminate the causes of ill health which often are an unhealthy diet and an unhealthy lifestyle. We had really high hopes for medicine 50 years ago, but they really haven’t panned out that much.
We’re gradually realizing that diet and lifestyle can have a huge impact and we also, in our book, talk about lifestyle factors like circadian rhythm factors like exercise and sun exposure and sleep have a tremendous impact on health. So there’s an awful lot of things you can do to really fix your health and that will benefit you. It might extend your life by 20 years and extend your health span by 30 years and it not only benefits you, but your children and your family and so on. So it really is a good investment to start looking into what we have learned about a healthy diet, a healthy lifestyle, and how it can help you.
Jonathan: I think it’s also helpful, Paul, when we frame things – just even in terms of time. Like, the amount of time it would take an individual to familiarize themselves with your work. Even going to the doctor – you’ve got to drive there, you’ve got to sit in the office, you’ve got a bunch of other sick people there, then you’ve got to drive back home or back to work and not to mention the fact that you feel like crap during that whole process because you’re already sick, so that’s 2 hours out of your day and you’re already sick. Why not just avoid that? I think sometimes we lose sight of the costs of not being healthy. I heard an estimate the other day that being diabetic costs at least $50,000 a year.
Again, I don’t know the scientific veracity of that but I can imagine that’s true and when you think in terms of that, even if you as an individual aren’t paying that, someone is. Someone’s paying that cost and even just in terms of our society and our economy, I think really just living the best lives we can by ensuring we’re feeding our bodies appropriately, we can have such a profound change beyond just feeling better and feeling better about how we look. What do you think, Paul?
Paul: Yeah, I think that’s absolutely right. Just in my own personal case, the time I took off from working in order to work on my own health probably cost me about a million dollars of lost income and if you assign any value to shortened life span, it’s very easy to see how poor health can cost you millions of dollars. So it’s definitely worth an investment to buy a book and spend a weekend reading it and to think about these things. People should really be willing to experiment with changing their diet and their lifestyle because often people notice a huge impact just in the first month and they start feeling tremendously better and their mood is better, they sleep better, they’re happier, problems go away, they go to their doctor and their blood lipids improve and their other bio markers. When you’re doing things the right way, usually you see results very quickly, so it’s well worth taking a little bit of time to read and think about these things and to do a personal experiment and see how they affect you.
Jonathan: Paul, one thing you mentioned there which I just want to shine a big spotlight on because I love it is, you said, “When you’re doing it correctly, you should see results and you should feel good.” That is, again, maybe when we step back, it seems commonsensical, but when people think ‘health’, they usually think ‘misery’. Like, “Oh, if I’m going to eat a healthy diet – oh, man, that’s no fun!” and “Oh, it’s just this drudgery and it’s this burden I have to carry around with me.” If you think that, that’s because sadly you’ve been indoctrinated with this ‘eat less, exercise more’ myth which is just malnourishing you, it will make you feel like crap; but when you eat more of the right kinds of things, you will feel great! Health is healthy! It’s happy! It’s good! If it’s not, that’s a good sign that something about the approach is not optimal. I think there’s one exception for that, Paul, and I’m curious to hear your comments on this, and that’s – individuals who are used to a very, very high starchy and sugary diet can sometimes go through withdrawal over the first couple of weeks. Have you seen that in your experience?
Paul: Well, I think in practical terms, it’s not that bad. It’s harder on people trying very low-carb diets. I think our diet is much easier for people to evolve to and one reason I think it’s not that common is that it’s very difficult for people to change their diet in one day. It’s very difficult to make a massive change. So usually people take a month or two and they change things one piece at a time. Like, you might start by trying to avoid vegetable oils. Big lifestyle changes like doing more cooking at home and less eating out, less eating packaged foods, it’s hard to change your habits immediately. I think most of the people who adopt our diet tend to do it gradually over a period of months and they notice fairly steady improvements each time they make a change, but it’s definitely the case. Like I said earlier, a very low-carb diet can be quite stressful on the body and if your body has already adapted to eat an extremely high-carb diet, then you’re going from one extreme where your body has had to make all these unnatural adjustments to an unhealthy diet that just has too much carbohydrate. So your body is all set up for this one extreme and then you go to the opposite extreme with a very low-carb diet and where you may be getting less carbohydrates than is optimal; so then it’s also stressful, but stressful in a totally different way where your body needs a totally different set of machinery in order to adapt to it. That’s a hard transition to make and that’s one thing, because it’s so simple to say ‘just quit eating carbs, eat lots of meat’. Sometimes people do make that transition very quickly and then they are going to have problems.
Jonathan: That’s such a great approach of this slow and gradual and continuous because this is something that you don’t just do this for two weeks, you don’t just do this for three weeks, you don’t just do this for three months; this is something if you want to keep enjoying the benefits, it’s got to be something you keep on doing and you want life-long health, so you have to eat this way life-long. Easing your way into it, I couldn’t agree more. It’s such a key component of it and it makes sense. If you want to run a marathon, you don’t go out tomorrow and attempt to run 26 miles. You gradually work your way up to it because you know you’re in it for the long haul. I love that. Paul, just to wrap up here – what’s next for you and the Perfect Health Diet?
Paul: Well, my wife and I are working on a cookbook and so that should be a lot of fun for us and hopefully for our readers. I would say one thing about our diet is, I mentioned earlier, the brain evolved to try to make us healthy and one thing about our food is, it’s extremely tasty. It’s very similar to gourmet food – the portions of ingredients are very similar. Think classic French cooking – plenty of butter and good fats and stuff. It is delicious food and I think, you mentioned earlier, people don’t realize that when you’re eating a healthy diet, you should be having a lot of fun eating because the food really tastes great. So we want to finish our cookbook and help people know how to cook healthy food at home that’s also delicious. That’s one step.
Another thing I’m working on is, working with the Ancestral Health Society to create a new scholarly and clinical journal called The Journal of Evolution and Health and we hope that will help move ancestral health, ancestral dieting and lifestyle, more into the mainstream and help people realize there is a lot of science behind this. It’s very well supported and also to help gather more evidence, if we can create more clinical case studies of how diseases can be cured with diet and lifestyle, I think that will really help support this moving into the mainstream. So those are probably the two things I’m focusing on at the moment.
Jonathan: Love it, Paul! I want to drive one of those points home which is, if you are working on improving your health and you are not enjoying what you’re eating, we can help. Everyone who is on this movement of moving towards whole foods and getting back in line with what our bodies are designed to eat will tell you, “This is not a deprivation diet.” There’s no deprivation. There’s no hunger going on. So I’m very excited to see that cookbook, Paul. I’m sure it will be wonderful. It’s been just a pleasure to have you on the show here and if folks do want to learn more – and we’ve mentioned it a couple of times – but please just reiterate where folks can get more information and your book and all that fun stuff.
Paul: Yeah, so come to our website – PerfectHealthDiet.com. It’s a very friendly community, a lot of intelligent people, and you can find we’ve got a Reader Results page which talk about some of the diseases people have cured with our diet. We have recipes. We have other things. Check out our book – Perfect Health Diet from Scribner – and we’re just delighted to have people try our diet. We love when people improve their health and share their stories with us. I think there really is tremendous potential to really improve people’s health, to cut a trillion dollars a year out of medical expenses just because people, if they’re healthier, won’t need all that care. So I really hope people will give good diets and good lifestyle a try.
Jonathan: One last – I don’t want to gush too much about your work here, Paul – but one thing I really want to make sure the listeners are aware of and one thing that I respect the most about you and your work, Paul – and you’ll see this in Paul’s work – is that Paul doesn’t have some agenda. Paul had a problem – personal problem – that he wanted to solve and he said, “What does the science say?” It wasn’t about promoting this agenda or that agenda. In fact, Paul, I can imagine, quite a few of these groups – or almost like nutrition religions – find issue with some of the things that you say because it doesn’t just fit some mold, because you’re just saying, “Here’s what the science and here’s what the research shows and I hope it will help you” and I just think that’s phenomenal! So, kudos to you, sir!
Paul: Oh, thank you.
Jonathan: Awesome! Thank you so much, Paul, for joining us. Listeners, I hope this has been helpful for you. Please do check out Paul’s work – PerfectHealthDiet.com – book of the same name, except it doesn’t have a dot-com in the title – and we’ll see you next week. Thanks so much!
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