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I want to empower your health with the steps that freed my life of chronic pain and medications.

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46 Comments

      • Matt Stone is very . . . . . challenging, isn’t he? The whole no, you do not have to drink half your weight in water, every day thing has been very hard for me to take on board and apply. I’m used to drinking a gallon (or more) every day. No wonder my hands and feet are always cold! This winter time, I’ve found that drinking about a liter of room temp water generally does it, sometimes more, sometimes less.

        • I would love some research on how not over-drinking water can be done while breastfeeding. Every breastfeeding resource says to drink water — plenty and plenty of water to keep a good milk supply and not dehydrate yourself. And yet, after 2 yrs. of nursing a baby (and I think, drinking a good amount of water) I feel like I have a very slow metabolism. Slower than before I had babies. I’m not sure what the answer is here?!

          • Hi, Mae,
            I personally found that drinking a quick glass of water after a nursing session was completely adequate to keep my milk supply up. I roughly calculated that my baby probably drank that much in milk, so I’d need about that much water to make an equal amount of milk. No science involved; it did, however, prove to work for me.
            I also felt like my metabolism wasn’t related to nursing, although I can see how our bodies may hold onto fat when nursing in order to be able to keep up milk production in case of “famine”. Some people are more efficient at keeping body fat in case of “famine”! Mine included. I see it as a very individual process, and not one we can say: “this is the formula,” in the sense of how much body fat we hold on to while nursing. There are all kinds of factors affecting our metabolism. I don’t think I’d necessarily connect slow metabolism with nursing, since it’s the most natural, beneficial nutrition for your baby. On the other hand, maybe it is that nursing is affecting your metabolism, but it’s possible you need that slower metabolism in order to make better milk…just thinking out loud here.

  1. Hey Lauren

    The Paleo Solution is a great book and the podcasts are a great way to get soilid infomation about everything Paleo. They intervew and have guest hosts who are the world leaders in everything Paleo / Primal. They cover Autoimune, sleep, training and really all heath and lifestyle aspects.

    It is a great resourse and they cover everything you have mentioned in detail.

    Just a thought: the Title say “Paleo Mistakes” infers that the Paleo diet model recomeds eating a lot of seeds and nuts, cooking in chemicals, eating lean meat and not eating carbs.

    • Yes, that is a good point and I did consider that. I needed an “angle” for this post so I used the Paleo angle because I think many Paleo/Primal/Grain Free folks don’t always consider these points. In the big picture, I think this post has applicable info for everyone’s healthy eating journey. I appreciate your comment!

  2. Great post – I was eating far too many almonds until I read your previous article about nuts. This kind of info is perfect for newbies like me. Also thanks for the heads-up about teflon… I’ve always wanted a set of le creuset pans, now I have a really good excuse for the indulgence!

  3. Great post, when I started eating primal for a solution to cystic ovaries, I found that I felt really great (I already ate “healthy”, just needed to cut out grains and a small amount of sugar). However as a year or so passed I found that I need to eat a touch more carbs (like the ones you mentioned) at certain points in the month, I find it varies with each cycle and usually lasts between 5 and 8 days. I don’t have cravings per se, but it’s more like I’m just really hungry for beets, carrots, fruit, sweet potatoes, etc. Lots of times, I think it’s just a matter of really listening to your body and paying attention to how it reacts. You had some great opinions in this post, thanks I enjoyed it.

  4. Hi,

    Great article! I try eating a traditional diet, but have become interested in giving Paleo a real try.

    My concerns have been on all the nut and seed consumption I see on a lot of Paleo blogs. So I love how you talk about just eating a few like Grok would have done.

    Also I am wondering how much different this is then the Atkins diet. Didn’t he die from a heart attack… at least that is the question my husband threw at me, and I don’t have an answer for him. Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks again for your great post!

  5. Interesting point on the water consumption! I am big proponent of the paleo lifestyle, and I had not come across this idea before. So many diet and fitness regimes make constant water intake a staple, but is this really optimal? I think drinking when thirsty instead of by a clock/volume meter is probably ideal. Homo sapiens seemed to have done alright before the arrival of water bottles!
    Also, I am glad you have pointed out the topic food of availability and seasonality. Acquiring food used to be an entire day’s work, it’s a good thing to keep in mind when opening our pantries. 😀

  6. It’s so funny that I’ve often pondered the fact that low carb, high protein can’t be bad for you because that’s how we were intended to eat back during the cave men days. So when I think if I should eat something in the back of my head I think, “Would a cave man have eaten this?” Now I know that little voice in my head is Grok! Very interesting post!

  7. I just got done reading some of this in the Primal Blueprint book..so thanks for listing it so easily..I think low carb is good if you are being advised by a health practitioner as a short term plan to fat loss but its not long term health ( my doctor works ketosis with some clients)…I am currently on GAPS (also directed by my DR )to heal my gut and it is working but I know it is a healing diet and should be respected for that – and I can say from experience it does do its job to heal the gut…it takes time though. ..and I know that when I am ready to venture more with my food choices, it will be tweaked to my progress …I am already mixing some GAPS with Primal because I especially like the logical process of Primal viewpoints on the whole carb protien sugar water thing as a long term plan for me…..and Id will say that Primal is a much easier food plan than GAPS but again GAPS is medicine 🙂

  8. really enjoyed your post. i’d add that chicken & other poultry fat contain lots of pufas, so perhaps chicken breasts are the best option, eaten with plenty of coconut oil or butter. ruminant fat contains far less pufas, so fatty cuts of beef & lamb are a better choice.

    when we started gaps i used to save & use all the chicken fat from the broths- we still make chicken broth but dump the fat & make more beef & lamb stocks.

    see ray peat’s work or his many devotees (www.nutritionbynature.com.au).

  9. Reading this article is perfect timing for me, as my husband and I were contemplating buying new cookware.
    In doing research on stainless steel pots and pans, most have an aluminum core. Is that safe? Are there any true stainless steel pots and pans out there? How about if it has a cooper bottom?
    Thanks!

  10. Thanks for all the posts… For pans I recommend non-enameled cast iron pans… They cost $20 instead of $200, are eaiser to clean, and help ensure adequate fats are used when cooking. Lodge pans are made in the US and can be ordered on their website… I just always caution our customers to get the less expensive version so they don’t buy enameled ones… Hope you find this helpful …

  11. Thanks for this great article. A couple of these lessons I learned the hard way myself. I’ve stopped forcing so much water. I’m a small person, and though I have water on me most of the time, I only drink about 3-4 glasses of water unless I’m being highly active or it’s very hot out. My body tells me when I need more. I also eat fresh fruits and vegetables and drink tea and bone broth, so I have no doubt I’m hydrated. When I first went grain-free, I felt great after a few days. Then, I started to catch every sickness that came around and experienced episodes of brain fog. It’s like I never adjusted. So, I increased the carbs in my diet. If I’m craving sweet, I eat it. The difference is instead of going out for ice cream or drinking a soda, I will have yogurt and an apple or eat a coconut-flour muffin sweetened lightly with honey or some other healthy “sweet” choice. I am not a huge lover of chocolate (shock), but I do eat dark chocolate on occasion as well. Now, I have consistent energy, clear thought, and I’ve been around sick, contagious people several times and haven’t caught a thing. I’m now testing adding dairy back in to my diet because I crave it. I started with yogurt, which went well. Now, I am adding in grassfed non-homogenized butter, cream, cheese and milk to see if that still settles well in my system.

  12. I’ve always wondered about the fatty meat thing. I’d love it if some one with more knowledge could clarify this for me.
    Wouldn’t the animals around Grok have been a lot leaner than the ones we eat today – including grass fed/ pastured ones? They would have had to work hard for their food plus would have spent a significant time moving – way more than a contented cow in a paddock.
    So my question is, wouldn’t the fatty parts have been prized because there was relatively little fat compared to now? And related to that, should we be aiming to eat wild meat rather than farmed of any sort?
    Thanks in advance!

    • I have lived in country side. Wild animals are consuming a lot of GMO crops and are well exposed to fertilizers and pesticides. I for one do not see wild meat as an option in our world today.

  13. I just found your blog and I am enjoying it. I live with chronic illness involving the immune system and lots go gut problems. This week I’m recovering from my gastro doctors insistence that I take in more fiber (my argument was that my diet that stayed away from gut wrenching grains and was filled with the vegetables, fruit, goat cheese, rice, and yogurt (with some meat, soy, oatmeal and other less inflammatory grains) kept me with the lowest level of gut discomfort than I used to have. I am particularly careful because I take narcotic pain mess for debilitating pain (suboxone, a milder and far less additive drug than the . one I took for six years on ,

  14. (Please excuse my first posted comment- i managed to hit some key or anoyher that caused it to post while i was editing).
    I just found your blog and I am enjoying it. I live with chronic illness involving the immune system and lots of gut problems. This week I’m recovering from my gastro doctors insistence that I take in more fiber. i argued that my diet that stayed away from gut wrenching grains and was filled with the vegetables, fruit, goat cheese, rice, and yogurt (with some meat, soy, oatmeal and other less inflammatory grains) kept me with the lowest level of gut discomfort than I used to have. But she insisted, and as many women with chronic illnesses know, we have to be careful not to feed into the many stereotypes that stigmatize us, like being hysterical, hypochondriacs, and unwilling to follow our doctors instructions so that we will not get better (apparently, we live the attention we get from being sick – although I must be doing something wrong because the only attention I get is negative), I’m looking forward to learning more about healthy life alternatives to conventional medical treatments for my conditions.

    While I am interested in what you are sharing about the “Paleo” diet, I would add that it is also important to understand that our prehistoric ancestors’ diets were largely determined by day to day environment and conditions they lived in. When life was good, there was plenty of food available via daily gathering, supplemented by fish and small game and the occasional big game (few people understand that big game hunting was a very small part of the hunter-gathering humans diet – there was no way to preserve meat (that came later) and it simply was a very time consuming and risky endeavor. This held true even in early 20th century hunting and gathering cultures. During this good time, people spent their energies on gathering, eating and resting (one might argue that while the lifespan was short, the quality of life during those years wasn’t too bad – at least when food was ample). Yet when times were bad – scarcity of food due to weather, natural disasters, or any other condition that would disrupt the balance of the local Eco system, people relied on whatever they could find to stay alive. Like all animals, our “Paleo” ancestors survived only if they had the needs, skills and abilities that allowed survival in changing conditions. Furthermore, unlike modern humans, they were less equipped to adapt as they were so dependent on the availability of naturally occurring food sources, lacking as they were of advanced knowledge of, and experience with, agriculture and the curing of foods. What is interesting, though, is that early humans had some understanding of simple horticulture and the use of tools to grow food for some time before they implemented them – while times were good, and food was plentiful in the naturally occurring surroundings, there was no incentive for working harder to grow food for themselves. This knowledge was only implemented and advanced with growing scarcity and competition for food. Yet there is no argument from me with the understanding that modern human cultures are filled with very unhealthy ideas about food and life, driven largely today by efforts to increase consumption and profit, instead of a desire to feed as many people in the most healthy and least environmentally damaging way possible.

    In sum, while I agree we can learn a great deal about alternative and more healthy ways of eating and living by looking at early humans, we should be careful not to very romanize that past and ignore the degree to which people’s diet wasn’t always a matter of their natural bodily needs or some natural mind, body, food balance – rather, they were completely at the mercy of their environment which may or may not have been conducive to ultimate health.
    Btw – I do apologize for any “lecturing” tone that might come through in my comment above – I’m a college professor of sociology, and I often fall into “professor” mode without intending to. : )

    • You have great points! I also think we can be “inspired” by a Paleo diet, but I don’t think that it is always best or practical to adhere to it. For example, we now know so much about metabolic principles, and a Paleo diet isn’t necessarily the best way to increase metabolism and thyroid function. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

  15. A really good post.

    I’m a big promoter of the Paleo diet principles in general, especially when people are beginning to make a change from a conventional diet. However, as I have refined my own diet I have starting paying more attention to some of these things you mention, particularly the nut consumption.

    Just on the water intake point. While I think the ‘hype’ around water intake in the fitness industry is often over played, the problem of drinking too much on a low-carb Paleo diet has more to do with inadequate sodium intake than the water itself. I have found that by taking in more sodium (via a spoon of sea salt in the morning) that I function alot better.

    Thanks for posting, I found it excellent.

    • Yes about the salt! Lack of sodium can often mean dehydration, even if we are drinking a lot of water. Taking sea salt and trace minerals helps bring the body to a place of hydration. Thanks for your thoughtful comment and sharing your experience!

      • I’m looking forward to your next post on water intake.
        I think it’s dangerous to spout about the dangers of drinking too much water without explaining that it’s the balance of mineral salts and water that’s the problem, not the overconsumption of water per se.

        The vast majority of the population are chronically dehydrated. They don’t like the taste of water and love to see posts that say don’t drink lots of water to give them an excuse not to drink much.

        The regime you are advocating is great for those who are already sufficiently hydrated. However people first need to get balanced before they can follow Natasha’s recommendations.

        I implore you to state in your post that these recommendations are for those who are already hydrated. People’s organs need to become hydrated first by drinking a good balance of clean water with added minerals (such as Himalayan Crystal salt) before they cut down. Otherwise their organs will stay dehydrated.
        I really enjoy your blog posts and I’m interested what you think of what I’ve just said.

        • Well, I think you are spot on! Most people are dehydrated and it is necessary that they replenish fluids with a balance of electrolytes. I am a proponent of adding a pinch of himalayan or celtic salt to any water they drink, especially, as you say, for those who are dehydrated. I keep saying I’m going to write a water post… I won’t forget, I promise!

  16. I realize this was posted a few weeks ago, but I’m curious about the water/hydration points. I don’t know why, but I have problems with sodium (to the point where I have had noticeable sodium deficiencies) and I’m guessing that has something to do with why I also frequently suffer from dehydration. I don’t feel thirsty very often, but I have to make myself drink more than I actually want, or else I have all the symptoms of dehydration (from fatigue and headaches to not peeing). My husband is Japanese and drinks way less than I do, but I read somewhere that it’s because Asians store sodium and potassium differently so they do not dehydrate as much. Anyway, I may have to check out this book you referenced because I feel like something is out of whack in terms of my hydration levels. I am not, I should say, drinking half my body weight in water every day, but if I don’t get in somewhere around 8 glasses a day, I have problems. Is it just me, or my sodium levels, or what? Anyway, thanks for the insightful posts–I just found your site today, and I have read several of your posts. I’m not really Paleo or anything specific, just trying to find better and more natural ways of nourishing myself and my family.

  17. How do you feel about almond milk? My daughter’s have always been sensitive to dairy milk and we don’t do any soy. I’ve tried to get her to switch to coconut milk but she doesn’t like it. Is the process for making almond milk too much almonds in her diet? We eat a fairly grain-free diet, and do not use any almond flour, only coconut flour.

  18. I went grain free and my body loves it. I get my carbs and starches from fried plantains, squashes and fruits. Its perfect. My body bloats and feels horrid with even non wheat grains. I like a small amount of buckwheat ( a seed), and coconut flour. As for water, I do need to drink more especially after exercising as my body keeps telling me, and especially more right after eating. People erroneously believe that water dilutes the stomach acids and impedes digestion, but for most people its the exact opposite! If I drink water right after a meal, it digests better. It was an old wives tale!

  19. You make sense. I have a lot of health issues and went paleo/vlc to cure them–it worked. But, I was constantly on the toilet (so much water) and have recently started getting hypoglycemia. Now, I think its partly due to low stomach acid, but even with HCL pills, I need to eat some carrots to get my blood sugar back up. The VLC also messed up my already messed up adrenal glands. So, I am going MLC (moderately low car—say 60 grams). I am also dropping from 100 oz of liquid to whatever the heck I want because I always knew that Grock didn’t carry around a canteen too. Common sense. But without a PhD, I guess they think us cavemen can’t have a coherent thought of our own! And lean meat is about as appetizing as dog food. Half my calories are from fat yet I am getting slimmer and stronger by the week. Oh, you should mention that Grock never went around eating 80grm (or whatever) of veg and fiber. What a crock! Too much veg and fiber are actually HARMFUL to us. Go figure. If we allow ourselves to listen to our bodies, we all initially disliked veggies! =) (unless they are doused in butter, lard, or co…lol).

  20. Lauren, as much as I agree with the concept of anti-nutrients in grains and seeds that make them hard if not impossible to digest for most people, I do not think “do as Grok did” approach is really valid. Grok did not have access to honey year round, yet you recommend it. Grok did not grind coconuts into flour yet it’s #1 on your list (don’t get me wrong, I love coconut flour and it is my #1 choice). Grok did not live to be 90 years old. Should we all really start living Grok-style and die when we are 30, after all isn’t it what nature intended for us to do? I embrace the concepts that are supported by research and science, but acting based on what the caveman did does not make sense to me.

  21. I agree with a lot of these points. One thing to remember with the amount we drink, is that some of us, unfortunately, are made to work in an air-conditioned office environment with people who can’t stand real air.

    Air conditioning sucks moisture from our skin, and I find that unless I drink enough to replace this I get a headache. This is not the case on the weekends where I drink a fraction of what I do at work, even if I get outside and sweaty I don’t have to drink as much as in the office!

  22. Hi Lauren,

    I’ve been on your website for quite sometime now and I can’t get off it! So much information!! See this is a problem for me, theres soooo much information about diet and health out there especially with the internet and all that it completely overwhelms me and I feel like I have to do everything and I’m missing out on a lot. I sometimes feel like I can’t cope up with this much and just so much people are throwing so much info as well. Its difficult actually trying to explain what I mean but I hope you understand. Do you have any advice for me??

  23. Hi, very interesting comments and great site. I grew up with Spanish grandparents and a Mediterranean diet in my youth, offal, soups, fish, salads. Hardly any sweet things or baked goods. Lots of olive oil and butter. Lots of aubergines, potatoes, tomatoes. Many years later in the UK I got very sick to the point of hospital visits, medication, all to no avail. Eventually after keeping a food diary I went grain and gluten free and went back to my childhood eating habits, and have slowly but surely recovered my health. 6 months down the line I feel much better. I’ve started on raw grass fed milk, just a small amount, and it’s really helped my stomach. I think the most important thing is to listen to your body, your common sense, and not listen too much to the “experts”. Drink when you’re thirsty, and exercise in moderation only. Grok would not have spent his time jogging or doing gym unless he was chasing prey. Do what feels natural, genetics play a big part here. I have a friend of Swedish ancestry who thrives on cereals and dairy products. She can’t digest potatoes. For my part, I crave oily fish, seafood, olive oil and nightshades, and don’t feel right unless I eat those things. My grandmother died at 94 and her mother was 108. They both drank small amounts of red wine daily. I also know a British man of Indian descent whose father is still alive in India, he’s about 110.. He eats nothing but pulses, white rice and curries, and is teetotal. There is so much more to learn about diet, health, genetics and environment, I think we’re scratching the tip of the iceberg as far as knowledge goes, and this means that health experts and doctors keep switching ideas, discovering new facts, it causes a lot of confusion and doubt. Thanks for reading, love to follow this great blog and learn from the experience of others, too.

  24. Hi! I just began a clean vegan diet while learning more about Paleo and Neo-Paleo theories. My switch to veganism is because of animal rights and environmental concerns associated with the practices of our current meat and dairy industries.

    The Paleo science on a bio-chemical level is very compelling, but I am growing more curious how we rectify Paleo diets with our modern lifestyles. As one example, I am pondering if animal fats are still necessary since we are not seeking shelter in caves and staving off cold nights. I presume Paleolithic man needed these fats to sustain long winters with less food and maintain his metabolic system without indoor heat and fluffy blankets. I find myself thinking, there may be varying degrees of adapting a caveman’s diet that once met survival needs, considering some of those survival threats are eliminated from (most) homes, while practicing moral beliefs on animal rights.

    My question is, with the food options available to us today, can a vegan diet that ascribes to much of the same science be as healthful as a more pure Paleo diet? For example, I currently enjoy avocados and coconut oil as a few plant-based fat sources instead of consuming animal fats. Is this an acceptable swap in the context of longevity and health?

    I am looking forward to your thoughts and advice; thank you!!

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I’m Lauren Geertsen, an author and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. When doctors told me that surgery and medication were the only answers to my chronic health issues, I decided to use the power of nutrition and a natural lifestyle instead.
My mission at Empowered Sustenance? To show you the simple steps on your path to vibrant health.

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