of the Paleo-Primal Lifestyle and Great Health
Karen De Coster
by Karen De Coster: How
the Public Schools Keep Your Child a Prisoner of the State
Folks are well
aware that I spend a lot of time, and words, hawking the paleo-primal
lifestyle and its numerous benefits, especially for libertarian
to Mark Sisson, this lifestyle is "a broad, holistic approach
to living and not simply a list for eating." To me, living primally
means I have adapted to the modern world by making certain changes
in my lifestyle – in terms of food and fitness – to minimize premature
aging, prevent modern disease, and stave off the all-too-common
problem of physical and mental lethargy. Since going primal I have
experienced a quality of life I never had before, and that includes
life in my 20s and 30s. I am 49.
the paleo-primal concepts beginning in the late 80 and early 90s,
via the Dr. Atkins program, and moving to a more robust and dedicated
about 2003 following an illness, I have settled into a very
self-regulated yet spontaneous way of life that fits neatly into
the framework of Mark Sisson's Primal
Blueprint. Essentially, here are some very high-level, self-imposed
commandments that I live by:
- Avoid all
sweeteners, most sugar (unless it is cane sugar in the occasional
homemade good), and even minimize natural fructose. I've never
been much of a fruit eater.
- Avoid all
industrial oils because of their rancidity, poor fatty acids profile,
and hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated properties.
- Use lard
(home rendered or bought from those who render it and sell at
the market); raw butter; Kerrygold Irish butter; olive oils; sesame
oil; macadamia oil; coconut oil; tallow (beef and lamb).
- Avoid grains,
except for occasional rice and, yes, beer in the warm months.
- Eat quality
meat: pastured or grass-fed (lamb, pork, beef, chicken, turkey)
stored in my large freezer, and eat only wild caught fish. See
a photo of my freezer. I deal directly with all of my farmers
via email and do pickups at their farms.
- Eat a high-fat
diet with moderate protein.
- Don't focus
on the macronutrient content (fats, protein, carbs). I keep it
simple and eat real food and don't turn eating into rocket science.
I don't have time for the tracking or logistics. By way of my
real-food principles, my diet is naturally low in carbs.
farmer's markets for obtaining the majority of my food (farmers
and artisanal makers). I live right by the largest and most glorious
market in North America, so I am fortunate: Detroit
Eastern Market. During the off-season, I buy from Trader Joe's,
Whole Foods, and local specialty/produce markets. The Detroit
metro area has a gazillion of these wonderful markets.
In terms of
fitness and conditioning, one thing I took from Mark Sisson when
I began reading him in about 2006, that I have never let go of,
is the following: more is not necessarily better. It took
a while for me to process that notion through a brain that is wired
to be ambitious and hardcore. My fitness patterns, though still
intense, take up a whole lot less time in my life. I am able to
spend more time on relaxing, fun, and/or adventurous outdoor activities
as opposed to "conditioning." My intense-but-short functional workouts
allow me to stay in first-rate condition without having to spend
too much time "getting there." I don't count calories, miles, speed,
or minutes; I don't set goals; I don't plan workout routines (I
spontaneously move through them); and I rarely think about PRs (personal
records). Employing primal concepts has meant that staying in shape
has become easy and rather effortless for me.
this past summer, I spent very little time in the gym doing intense
training (2 days per week, tops) and instead, I spent that time
kayaking, hiking, doing cycling rides (destination rides and mountain
biking), hiking, canoeing, playing frisbee, golfing, and tooling
around on the big lake in a friend's dinghy with a cooler loaded
with microbrews and beef jerky.
I no longer kill myself to stay in great condition. I often get
letters from folks telling me, "I used to look like that, too, when
I was younger and worked out 3 hours almost every day." Three hours!
I do perhaps that many hours per
week these days, unless I engage a long cycling adventure
or other functional escapade. It is a big, fat lie to say that you
need to drive yourself into the ground to get fit. People seem to
think I work out endlessly to get fit and stay fit, but
that is a myth that needs to go away. Ignorance drives these thoughts.
I used to work out a ton, but because I love to do it,
not because I needed to do it. Now I don't have the time to do that
anymore, which is a good thing. I divorced myself from
endurance addiction and chronic cardio. This
is the kind of functional workout I enjoy now in the
outdoor, natural gym.
ability to adapt and recover was tested when I went through my fourth
orthopedic surgery – though it was my first surgery in eleven years.
I loathe surgery because I have no patience for the recovery period.
sixteen months of injuries culminating in a torn hip labrum,
I was looking forward to this surgery and the end of the pain and
physical limitations. The string of injuries started with a really
bad collision between my pelvis and a wood floor while playing walleyball
in November 2010.
A lot of folks
asked me about this surgery, and their enquiring minds wanted to
know why I would go that route, considering
my views on the conventional wisdom of the medical establishment.
I write often about how the western medical establishment largely
ignores integrative and functional medicine and does not view individuals
as holistic beings who have underlying causes of their health problems,
especially chronic diseases. Instead, western doctors treat the
symptoms, with drugs, while the drugs mask the symptoms and the
underlying health issues. Thus the chronic problems, and disease,
fester and grow over time, leading to more drugs and a lesser quality
For the most
part, there are two types of Docs I really like – chiropractors
and orthopaedic surgeons. My chiropractor keeps my neck issues in
check, and orthopaedic surgeons are really good at fixing stuff
when it breaks. And that's what they are supposed to do: look at
the symptoms and determine the cause of those symptoms (what's broke?),
and fix it. That may seem simplistic, but my injury seemed to be
the rest of the article
Coster, CPA [send
her mail] is an accounting/finance professional in the
healthcare industry and a freelance writer, blogger, speaker, and
sometimes unpaid troublemaker. She writes about libertarian stuff,
economics, financial markets, the medical establishment, the Corporate
State, health totalitarianism, and other essentially, anything that
encroaches upon the freedom of her fellow human beings. When she
has a few moments of spare time she prefers to do functional fitness,
kayak the Detroit River, and drink hot toddies. This is her LewRockwell.com
archive and her Mises.org
archive. Check out her
website. Follow her on Twitter @karendecoster.
2012 Karen DeCoster
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