Kurt G. Harris MD

PāNu means paleonutrition. The "paleo" here signifies "old" and not necessarily paleolithic. The PāNu approach to nutrition is grounded on clinical medicine and basic sciences disciplined by knowledge of evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology. The best evidence from multiple disciplines supports eating a pastoral (animal-based) diet rather than a grain-based agricultural one, while avoiding what I call the neolithic agents of disease - wheat, excess fructose and excess linoleic acid.

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PāNu Forum > -- Your Paleo Story --

I always wonder how people got started down the path of being fanatical about what they eat. I see people all around me eating things I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole now, but I remember not to long ago that I was doing the same thing as them. I really didn't think much of it. My entire mentality has changed forever.

What started it for me?
I purchased a Powertec leverage weight bench for my home gym. As I began to research what's the best way to truly maximize lifting the right way, I stumbled across a guy named Mark McManus. He runs a site called MuscleHack.com. His approach is extremely different from most lifters, and as I began to poke around on his site, I was seeing all kinds of articles that really made me question his teachings. Stuff like... eat the egg yolk too, because the cholesterol in it is not bad for you. And that you need to keep your carbs low or at least learn how to properly cycle your carbs. And then I stumbled across an article he wrote on saturated fat that was accompanied by a 3 minute youtube video feed of "Big Fat Lies", which is a fairly popular video clip to pass around. I watched it with my wife and we were both like.... ???? Seriously? Saturated fat is not bad for you? I mean, we always stayed away from hydrogenation and HFCS, and spent most of our money at Trader Joes, so we were probably doing 'better' by comparison than most folk, but I look back now and cringe.

We actually got into a brief tiff about it because she had already graduated with a Kineseology degree with an emphasis on health, fitness, and nutrition. I told her to relax and that I would dig in to find out the real truth.

I first found Kent Rieske's site Biblelife.org via a simple google search on saturated fat. Ha! I had NO idea what I was in for.That dude is way out there. I mean way out there. His site is an endless rabbit hole straight out of Alice in Wonderland. I don't agree with everything he's all about (and he's about a whole flippin lot of stuff), but I will say that he was just strong enough in his approach that I kept reading. And there is enough good information that at least it led me down the right track. I immediately changed everything out of fear. (I started feeling like I had multiple diseases right there in front of the computer screen.. lol). I eventually found WAPF, Stephan Guyenet, Chris Masterjohn, Chris Kresser, Dr Davis, Mark Sisson, Dr Ayers, and Dr Harris.

The result? I've accidentally lost 13 pounds (wasn't my goal... I'm doing a muscle building regimen and I’m looking to gain). But I feel fantastic. I have, simultaneously while getting cut, gained significant muscle mass and I'm stronger than ever before. (I weigh 155 and smash out 10 reps with 240 on the bench press). And I look forward to eating at least 90% of the time now, where I could not say the same before. The only nagging problem that came about with all this is the annoying heartburn symptoms. I think I shocked my gut flora by completely eliminating so many things and increasing my fat intake by so much. But I'm getting a handle on it and the active manuka honey is really helping a lot.

So there you have it. I can never go back.

What's your story?

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJack Kronk

I just discovered this forum this morning.

I'm over weight by 30 lbs, and nearing 58 years old.

About six years ago, I joyfully discovered the Adkins diet, and it worked PERFECTLY for me - for a time. For the first time in my life, I had control over my appetite, my weight was down, I looked great, I felt great. My "turning 50" pictures showed a very hot, very happy lady, indeed.

I'm naturally a T -Rex individual, but I have always had an insane sugar craving problem.

After two years on the diet - it one day just stopped working. I began gaining weight, I began feeling lousy. I also began to develop boils. I first had a golf sized boil in mhy armpit, then marble sized ones on my neck and back of my head. Never had them before. My joints ached, I developed crippling tendonitis, wearing pressure bandages day and night, and I could hardly walk with my hip joint pain.

After doing some research on joint pain relief, I conclude my Ph balance was far too acidic, and began netralizing my diet with alkaline based vegetables, loads of water,flax seed oil, vitimin supplements.

So here I am. Overweight again. My tendonititis and hip pain no longer are an issue, but my feet hurt from my weight over load. I started the Hyman Ultrasimple diet last year, had good success - for 3 months, but felt so deprived and miserable I couldn't keep it up.

My morning smoothie routine consists of a scoop of pea protein powder, a scoop of Barleans Greens, a shot of flax seed oil, magnesium citrate for my constant constipation, a 1/2 of blueberries.

I snack on nuts and dates during the day. Dinner is meat,veg, starch. Rarely go to resturants.

I don't eat crap, but I'm fat and getting fatter.

Love to return to the high protein diet, but the fear of joint pain and boils scares me more than longing for a better weight.

Wish I could be more positive...I just feel doomed.

January 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteronechef

onechef,

so sorry that things reversed for you. maybe thats your body's way of telling you it wasn't truly happy with what you were giving it, even if atkins worked for a time. i think there's some quality benefits associated with an atkins style diet, probably more than standard mainstream advice. but there are some inherent problems with the atkins diet in particular and i think that's why many people have a story similar to yours... that it worked for a time and then reversed.

as for the hyman diet, i suppose that diet too would be more beneficial and less problemtic than.. say.. the SAD. and i believe dr mark hyman is at least on the right track with regards to believing and teaching that diseases such as cancer should be tackled from the root of the issue, rather than reacting after you have the issue. but thats about where i part ways with his teachings. there's quite a bit of foods and ideas that he promotes that i believe are not on track at all.

you came to an excellent source here in dr harris. he's very well studied, and quite connected with many other 'paleo' experts. in addition to dr harris' panu blog, i'd recommend the following resources for a nice change in pace to get you back on track:

whole health source blog, stephan guyenet
the daily lipid, chris masterjohn
the healthy skeptic - chris kresser
weston a price foundation
mark's daily apple - mark sisson

you don't need to agree with everything on every site, but there's enough (really more than enough) information here to really get you dialed in.

i know everyone has a different opinion on exactly what to eat, but i will tell you what i eat, and it's working very well for me. actually i need to start seriously upping my caloric intake, as i am looking to gain muscle and on my current plan, i continue to shed weight, even as a gain muscle.

So what do I eat?
Quality meats with pure ingredients only (if any), including beef, lamb, chicken, wild salmon/tuna/sardines, and some other seafoods. Lots of organic eggs from free roaming chickens, yolk and all. Lots of pasture butter (and now ghee!). Grass fed whole raw milk only. Pure cheeses. Heavy cream with no other ingredients. Grass fed raw milk whey protein concentrate powder (post work out drink). Soaked/sprouted nuts and nut butters. Soaked/fermented legumes only. No white flour products. Select starches like potatoes and occassionally rice. Avoid whole grains. Sprouted corn totillas only. No chips. Regular Salads. Avocados. Plenty of veggies, raw or cooked. Choice fruits in moderation, mostly berries. Use raw cacao powder occassionally. Cook in virgin coconut oil, ghee, or occassionally red palm oil. Take fermented cod liver oil and butter oil. No vegetable (seed) oils (including canola), ever, hydrogenated or not. Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and macadamia nut oil are good as cold drizzlers. No refined sugars, in food or drink. No sodas and No fruit juice, ever. Purified water via ultraviolet light. Use pure stevia powder and/or raw unprocessed organic honey for sweetening.

Remember that your body is asking for a change. Satisfy it. Keep your chin up and you will win again! :)

Hope that helps.

-Jack Kronk

January 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJack Kronk

I've lost nearly 25 pounds in just over 1 month. I can see something called "abs" under my skin. Speaking of skin, my complexion has never been better, not since my youth. Every stitch of "one day" clothing in my closet now fits. My asthma has disappeared. Energy "crashes" are a thing of the past, and I don't remember the last time I felt hungry. I can't go into a old haunt or see an old friend without "Who the heck are you and what did you do with West?" come out of their mouths. Why? What is the magic? What super-diet of the Stars have I committed to? What book did I buy that transformed my life? The answer: None of the above. Just sensible, paleo eating (and NO cheating in 30 days, not once).

I started this to lose a "little" weight as I am going to quit smoking in another week, and I've always failed due to weight gain (and not fitting into any of my clothes). I had no idea the changes to my body would be this dramatic. I eat right, exercise very little (2 to 3 times a week, short 20 min. circuits and stairs), and I've lost almost 25 pounds. I am NEVER going back to processed food/carbs. Feeling this good at 41 is something I'm not giving up for anything. Kurt, great site!

February 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaleo Canuck

Inspirational to read, and very encouraging for followers who are yet to share in similar results.

February 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDudleyP

My story started 4 years ago when I was 56 years old and looking for a way to naturally improve my cholesterol numbers. I stumbled across Art De Vany's site and read all of his old posts; a couple months after that I had lost 12 pounds, improved my cholesterol numbers, gained some muscle, and lost a pain in my right hip. In time I branched out to other websites like Mark Sisson's Daily Apple and this website of Dr. Harris.

February 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark L.

Hey Jack,

I highly doubt anyone who frequents this sight will have travelled the same path I took to go from the SAD to PaNu. It all began shortly after the prescription diet my cat was on expired and required another vet visit to renew it. She was diagnosed with CRF (chronic renal failure) a year earlier after 6 years on the SAFD (Standard American Feline Diet). The prescription food was costing me about $60.00 / month (the other 3 "healthy" felines ate it as well, out of convenience). I was not going to put her through the stress of another trip to the vet, so I got online and sought alternative diets for CRF. I stumbled across sites that reminded me that cats are obligate carnivores and that grain / vegetable based diets are far from ideal for optimal feline health (didn't I know that?). Many of these sites even advocated a raw meat diet. I considered buying a meat grinder and preparing their meals before realizing what that would entail - four indoor cats, two morbidly obese with advanced metabolic syndrome, BTW. So, I found online a grain-free, Origen kibble with 75% meat and meat by-products and the rest veggies. Not ground up chickens or mice, but better than anything at the grocery store where some have corn starch as ingredient #1. The prescription garbage wasn't much better. I also get Evo grain-free, 95% chicken canned food. Now my cat food expenses are around $90 -$100 / month. I have no problem with this and could never go back to the store bought or prescription garbage. I like my animals and they deserve better. Four years since the CRF diagnoses and no recurrence.
Of course this experience inevitably led to a closer examination of my / our dietary food choices. I was fortunate to discover Dr. Harris's site before getting too wrapped up in the popular paleo principles - the paleo reenactment crowd. It's been an interesting and enlightening 12 months of PaNu. I was hooked after my first visit.

Thank you Dr. Harris !

February 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

A friend recommended both GCBC and panu to me, and I passed along both recommendations to my father. I was morbidly obese, and my father is diabetic and at the time his weight and blood sugar were out of control. I started reading GCBC, while my father started following Dr. Harris's advice from both "Getting Started" and from his "How to Lose Weight" posts.

GCBC was a revelation to me --and even if I am no longer convinced that the book's proposed mechanisms or exclusive focus on carbs as the source of all dietary evils are correct, it was still GCBC that convinced me to be (HIGHLY) skeptical of standard dietary advice, to think for myself and research dietary/nutrition issues myself, and not just blindly follow the standard advice. Meanwhile, my father following Dr. Harris's advice (the VLC version orientated to those who are diabetic) resulted in him losing tremendous amounts of weight and bringing his blood sugar under control. A combination of GCBC and my father's success convinced me to try the panu proscription. My current diet (and dietary beliefs) are mostly influenced by panu, though I also am greatly influenced by Stephan Guyenet's Wholehealthsource blog and Chris Masterjohn's Daily Lipid Blog. My view of exercise and athletics has more recently been shaped by Robb Wolf's podcasts.

Six months after starting panu, I have lost about 50lbs while gaining muscle, lost about 12inches from my waist, and lost my hypertension, all without being hungry or feeling deprived. With the new found energy and my new body that came from the change in diet, I threw myself at exercise (functional fitness, crossfit, and bjj). I have become much more athletic -- after spending my entire life as the fat kid who tried to avoid sports at all costs, I am now able to athletically compete with athletes half my age.

Not everything is perfect. My father has had permanent damage from having uncontrolled diabetes for so long, following panu caused him to lose a tremendous amount of weight and to stabilize his blood sugar but he is still overweight and is suffering the severe consequences of having his diabetes uncontrolled for so long. I am now relatively happy with my body composition, though it is taking me time to correct flexibility/mobility/strength imbalance/stability issues that I believe resulted from me being a morbidly obese couch potato for so long, and of course the diet doesn't undo natural aging. I do still have a bit of extra fat on my waste, but I am still leaning out and, like I said, I am pretty happy with my body composition. I do have rather grotesque flaps of excess skin on my stomach, a condition which I hope will prove to be temporary (and which is far superior to being morbidly obese).

February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEdward

I'm not really fanatical about what I eat, per se. I have Addison's Disease and celiac, and because the existing treatments for Addison's are rather imperfect I became interested in trying other things that might improve my day-to-day health. Eating in the Paleo neighborhood works well and is backed by plausible science, so I keep doing it. The fact that I can see my abs at age 43 and don't suffer from the "hypoglycemic" moments that plague most folks with Addison's are happy side effects.

February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Rosevear