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Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life by Nora Gedgaudas CNS, NTP, BCHN

Combining your body’s Paleolithic needs with modern nutritional and medical research for complete mind-body wellness

• Provides sustainable diet strategies to curb sugar cravings, promote fat burning and weight loss, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep and moods, increase energy and immunity, and enhance memory and brain function

• Shows how our modern diet leads to weight gain and “diseases of civilization”—such as cancer, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and ADD

• Explains how diet affects the brain, hormone balance, and the aging process and the crucial role of vitamin D in cancer and disease prevention

Examining the healthy lives of our pre-agricultural Paleolithic ancestors and the marked decline in stature, bone density, and dental health and the increase in birth defects, malnutrition, and disease following the implementation of the agricultural lifestyle, Nora Gedgaudas shows how our modern grain- and carbohydrate-heavy low-fat diets are a far cry from the high-fat, moderate-protein hunter-gatherer diets we are genetically programmed for, leading not only to lifelong weight gain but also to cravings, mood disorders, cognitive problems, and “diseases of civilization”—such as cancer, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance), heart disease, and mental illness.

Applying modern discoveries to the basic hunter-gatherer diet, she culls from vast research in evolutionary physiology, biochemistry, metabolism, nutrition, and chronic and degenerative disease to unveil a holistic lifestyle for true mind-body health and longevity. Revealing the primal origins and physiological basis for a high-fat, moderate-protein, starch-free diet and the importance of adequate omega-3 intake—critical to our brain and nervous system but sorely lacking in most people’s diets—she explains the nutritional problems of grains, gluten, soy, dairy, and starchy vegetables; which natural fats promote health and which (such as canola oil) harm it; the crucial role of vitamin D in cancer and disease prevention; the importance of saturated fat and cholesterol; and how diet affects mental health, memory, cognitive function, hormonal balance, and cellular aging. With step-by-step guidelines, recipes, and meal recommendations, this book offers sustainable strategies for a primally based, yet modern approach to diet and exercise to reduce stress and anxiety, lose weight, improve sleep and mood, increase energy and immunity, enhance brain function, save money on groceries, and live longer and happier.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594774133
Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
Publication date: 06/30/2011
Edition description: 2nd Edition
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 178,589
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Nora T. Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT, is a certified nutritional therapist and neurofeedback specialist with a private practice. A member of the Nutritional Therapy Association, the National Association of Nutritional Professionals, the Nutrition and Metabolism Society, and the Weston A. Price Foundation, she lives in Portland, Oregon.

Read an Excerpt

Primal Body, Primal Mind

Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life
By Nora T. Gedgaudas

Healing Arts Press

Copyright © 2011 Nora T. Gedgaudas
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781594774133

Chapter 25
Our Primordial Past

Understanding Mother Nature’s Plan and Where We Fit In

What Do All the Longest-living Individuals Have in Common?

If there is a known single marker for long life, as found in the centenarian and animal studies, it is low insulin levels.”
--Ron Rosedale, M.D., 1998

Research across the board has shown that long-lived individuals (animals and humans) share the following characteristics:

Low fasting insulin levels
Low fasting glucose
Optimally low leptin
Low triglycerides
Low percentage of visceral body fat
Lower body temperature

One single longevity marker stands out among all long-lived animals and persons above the rest, however, and that’s low insulin levels.

In July of 2009 the eagerly awaited results of a twenty-year study on the effects of caloric restriction on primates were finally published in the journal Science. Two groups of Rhesus monkeys (selected for their strong similarity to us) were studied: one group of monkeys was allowed to eat as much as they wanted, and the other group was given a sufficiently nutrient-dense diet with 30 percent fewer calories than they would normally consume. Twenty years later only 63 percent of the monkeys that ate as much as they wanted were still alive. Thirty-seven percent of them had died due to age-related causes. And the caloric restriction group? Eighty-seven percent were still alive and only 13 percent had died of age-related causes. Throughout their lives the calorically restricted group maintained superior health and aging-related biomarkers in every area: brain health, metabolic health and rate, insulin sensitivity, and cardiovascular vitality. The caloric restriction group enjoyed a threefold reduction in age-related disease! Also, they lost fat weight but maintained healthy levels of lean tissue mass. They also retained greater brain volume, which normally shrinks with age and glycation, but more than that they retained superior cognitive function. The cardiovascular disease rate of the caloric-restricted group was fully half the rate of the control group. Forty percent of the control group developed diabetes (or pre-diabetes). Not ONE single monkey in the calorically restricted group developed either. Remarkable. The available photos from the study showing examples of age-matched individuals from the two groups, which I was not able to include here, are visually striking. Stunning, even. The caloric-restricted monkeys looked almost literally half the age of the controls.

Among the most common misconceptions about monkeys and apes, incidentally, is that they are vegan animals. Though they are better adapted to making use of plant foods in some ways than we are, they also readily eat the same things we eat. ALL monkeys and apes are known to eat meat, and many even hunt for meat. The one notable exception is the mountain gorilla, and even they get some insects in their diet. Monkeys and apes are omnivores and, like us, will eat whatever might be available to them in their environment. Some even catch and eat fish! One of the reasons Rhesus monkeys were selected for this particular study, in fact, is because of their pronounced similarity to us, even in terms of diet.

There are actually several more recent studies showing significant health benefit where caloric restriction in humans is concerned. A newly released study in the Journal of Applied Research, “Clinical Experience of a Diet Designed to Reduce Aging” demonstrated that, in the context of an outpatient medical clinic, a diet high in fat (unlimited quantity), adequate in protein (50-80 grams per day), and very low in carbohydrate, with some added multivitamin and mineral supplementation, led to significant improvement in recognized serum factors related to the aging process. Patients were told to eat when they were hungry. The results also included a significant loss of body weight, a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and a reduction in levels of leptin, insulin, fasting glucose, and free T3. Despite the predominance of fat in the diet, serum triglycerides were also greatly reduced.

Of course, it’s easy to restrict overall calories with lab animals, as they have no choice in the matter. It is quite another matter to try and restrict overall caloric intake when you’re driving past fifteen fast food joints on your way home, are surrounded by constant advertisement, and have a refrigerator and cupboards full of food at your ravenous fingertips. Unless, of course, you apply the caloric restriction model in a way that does not leave you hungry--which is exactly what this book tells you how to do. Just follow the simple, most basic dietary guidelines outlined here to eat optimally well while feeling fully satisfied and living healthier, longer--and even save some real money along the way! Even while buying the best-quality grass-fed meats, produce, and wild-caught fish you can find yourself saving considerable money on groceries. The basic guideline to remember is this: greatly restrict or eliminate sugar and starch (preferably eliminating gluten completely), keep your protein intake adequate amounting to approximately 6-7 ounces of organic grass-fed and/or wild-caught meat or seafood total per day, eat as many fibrous “above ground,” nonstarchy vegetables and greens as you like, and eat as much fat (from fattier cuts of meat or fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut, butter/ghee, olives, olive oil, and the like) as you need to satisfy your appetite. The bottom line here is that natural dietary fat is not at all our enemy and that, in the absence of dietary carbohydrate and with adequate protein, it can result in a far more satisfying, longer, and healthier life overall. Simple, delicious, and satisfying. No hunger or feelings of deprivation needed, and all the benefits of supporting a longer and healthier life while saving you money. It’s better for the planet, too.


Excerpted from Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora T. Gedgaudas Copyright © 2011 by Nora T. Gedgaudas. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Illustration Permissions

Foreword by Mark Steinberg, Ph.D.

Foreword by Brent Pottenger



Part One
Primal Body

1 A Look at Where Our Dietary Requirements Originated
2 So, What’s for Dinner?
3 Grains: Are They Really a Health Food?
4 So What about Soy?
5 Digestion and Nutrient Assimilation: A North-to-South Journey
6 Your Gut and the Immune Connection
7 Dietary Fats: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
8 Dispelling the Cholesterol Myth
9 Vitamin D: What All da Buzz Is About
10 Making the Omega-3 Fatty Acids Connection
11 The Tyranny of Trans Fats
12 So, How Much Natural Fat Do I Need, Anyway?
13 Carbohydrate Metabolism
14 Leptin: The Lord and Master of Your Hormonal Kingdom
15 Weight Management 101 and the Path to Type 2 Diabetes
16 Taming the Carb-craving Monster
17 High Fructose Corn Syrup: A Sticky Wicket Best Avoided
18 What about Fiber as an Essential Carbohydrate?
19 Adrenal Exhaustion: A Uniquely Modern Epidemic
20 A Word about Water
21 Understanding the Role of Protein
22 Our Primordial Past: Understanding Mother Nature’s Plan and Where We Fit In
23 Using Insulin and Leptin to Our Advantage

Part Two
Primal Mind

24 Feeding Your Brain: Why It Matters
25 How Important Is Fat to the Brain?
26 Where Does ADD/ADHD Fit In to All of This?
27 Relief from Anxiety and Depression in Our Uncertain World
28 What about Food Allergies and Sensitivities?
29 The Impact of Modern Dietary and Environmental Stress on the Brain

Part Three
Paradise Lost

30 Surviving in a Modern World
31 What Generation of Pottenger’s Cat Are You?

Appendix A Where to Start?

Appendix B Sample Menus

Appendix C Protein Content in Foods

Appendix D An Abbreviated Guide to Supplementation

Appendix E The Weston A. Price Foundation

Appendix F Pyroluria

Appendix G Paleo/Traditional Diet Resources and Related Websites

Appendix H Recommended Reading


About the Author


What People are Saying About This

Jimmy Moore

“It’s a health plan so easy even an unga bunga caveman can do it! Gedgaudas uses humor, science-based facts, and common sense to debunk many of the myths we have been told about weight and health control in the 21st century. In the world of healthy high-fat, low-carb nutrition research and education, this is yet another book to complement your healthy lifestyle change.”

Julia Ross

“Nora Gedgaudas has loaded Primal Body, Primal Mind with the information and resources essential for anyone who hopes to survive the 21st century in mental and physical health.”

Lierre Keith

“Nora Gedgaudas is a warrior fighting for our collective health. For 2.6 million years humans knew what to eat: animal fat and protein. On that diet, we grew tall, strong, and disease-free. That primal pattern is still there, laid down like a labyrinth circling out of our DNA, and Nora is ready to guide us. This book is fabulous.”

Tom Naughton

Primal Body, Primal Mind covers a wide range of health topics but ties them all back to one central idea: physically, we are virtually identical to our Paleolithic ancestors. We may drive minivans and listen to modern jazz on iPods, but our bodies and brains haven’t really evolved past the Stone Age. Overall, an excellent read and an excellent resource.”

Catherine Austin Fitts

“As an investment advisor, I stress the importance of health to my clients and subscribers. Why is that? Because a clear mind and strong body are the first step to creating and keeping your wealth, whether it is personal or financial. Yes, we can understand how our mind and bodies function! Yes, we can feed ourselves the nutritious food that makes us powerful! Nora Gedgaudas’s Primal Body, Primal Mind teaches you essential knowledge you need to survive and thrive in the 21st century.”

Anna Jedrziewski

“With this book, she [Nora Gedgaudas] moves the diet discussion into the world of evolutionary science.”

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Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I already follow a primal-type lifestyle, and am always looking for new material that I can pass on to my non-primal friends and family in the hopes of getting them to see the benefits of going primal. This book won't be on my list to recommend, however. I'm only on the seventh chapter, but so far the book has been one scary statistic or author opinion after another. It's not even safe to use shampoos and soaps, because if you are exposed to gluten (present in many personal care products) just once a month, you have increased your relative risk of death by 600%. And frankly, if you weren't breastfed as a child, you will have to take some sort of probiotic supplement everyday in order to ever hope to have proper digestion. While these types of statements are usually backed by a (but not multiple) research citation, the author interweaves her opinion, sensationalizing the dangers of gluten, soy, etc. So far, this book has provided me with a sense of hopelessness that I will ever be truly healthy. The title of the book does indicate that this is not an introduction to the primal lifestyle and so I should have anticipated that the book would be a step beyond managing paleo in the everyday world. However, I think it borders on conspiracy theory, and certainly would not be helpful for someone looking to move from a standard American diet to a healthier lifestyle. If anything, I imagine readers might feel they should forgo paleo altogether because it would seem impossible to avoid all the nutritional dangers in our world today. If my opinion of this book changes as I continue to read it, I will certainly come back and revise my review. In the meantime, I'm thankful that I had already discovered the benefits of primal before coming across this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an incoherent compilation of information on everything from the danger of grains and soy to carbohydrate consumption, diabetes, heart disease, ADD, fatty acids...there is so much crammed here that you wonder what exactly you're supposed to do in order to get healthy. Confounding the problem is the author's lack of specificity for dietary guidelines. It seems the premise of her book is that all major health problems are caused by the body's constant regulation of blood sugar, which is subject to drastic increases and drops due to the modern carbohydrate based diet (in case you are not aware, all carbohydrates turn to sugar in the body). She advocates eating like a caveman because this will cause the body to start burning fat for energy (called ketosis) instead of sugar, and this will make us healthy. However, there is no specific guideline for how much fat or protein we should eat. She goes on to say that excess protein consumption will be digested as sugar and that excess dietary fat will be stored as fat (see page 152) after citing a study on page 146 which indicated that the most weight-loss effective diet consisted of 90% fat. So which is it—does excess fat consumption cause weight loss or get stored as fat? And while she states we are supposed to limit our protein intake but increase fat (because saturated fat is good), you have to remember that most saturated fat comes with animal protein; so when we increase our fat intake, we will be increasing our protein intake as well, most likely. Without specific guidelines for how much protein/fat to eat in order to induce ketosis, this is useless.
Newconnexion More than 1 year ago
If you are into health and nutrition, you’ll love this book. Author Nora T. Gedgaudas includes extensive modern scientific research studies to back up her suggestions. Primal Body, Primal Mind is very in-depth and informative, but don’t let this fool you. The facts are presented in a straight forward way that any average Joe can read and understand. The basic principle behind the book is that to enjoy a longer, healthier life, we need to go back to the caveman way of eating. Gedgaudas suggests that decreasing or eliminating sugar, starches and grains in the diet as well as enjoying moderate protein and good, healthy fats can lead to good health, and “we can enjoy a level of health and vitality one might never have believed possible.” This is one of the best health information books I have read in a long time. — Annette Epifano, New Connexion Journal
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have worked as a RN in primary care for over 20 years, watching the increase in diagnoses of arthritis, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, coronary artery disease and metabolic syndromes, I feel this book should be read by everyone.  Even if you don't believe in the Paleo approach to diet, this book will have you thinking about what you eat and it's possible affects on your own bodily functions.  There are almost 50 pages of resources and references listed for further research. 
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Nitty gritty scientific awesomeness regsrding the paleo / pprimal lifestyles.
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