Posted by: Lowell | July 17, 2009

Paleo / Primal in a Nutshell Video

I’m on the Greater Seattle Weston A. Price Foundation Yahoo Group (wow that’s a long name), and someone recently posted a link to the following video.  It’s basically just a 5-minute flash animation describing the Paleo/Primal diet and rationale in a nutshell.  It does a pretty good job, actually.  Obviously there’s a lot more to it, but it’s a fun intro for newcomers, and a fun refresher for the rest of us.

More on exercise below, after the jump, including some of my thoughts and another nutshell video.

The same author also did one on Paleo/Primal exercise that’s pretty good (see below)—the basic “less exercise is good” argument is spot on.  Mark Sisson (of the Primal Blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple) sums it up pretty nicely, in that—based on human history and evolution—there are really 3 kinds of healthy human exercise:

  1. Short sprints, occasionally and for not too long
  2. Lifting heavy things, occasionally and for not too long
  3. Low-aerobic or below activity (walking, hiking, or similar)

Sprinting or lifting more often or for longer durations just ends up bad for you in the long run, and sometimes in the short run too.  And what about that mid-to-high level cardio/aerobic exercise that is the bread-and-butter of almost all modern exercise?  There’s no place for that, it just isn’t part of human history.  When would our ancestors have done that kind of thing?  There’s increasing evidence that forced “chronic cardio” (as Mark calls it) simply results in a long-term reduction in your health.



  1. I love this video now I have finally taken the time to watch it (how did I miss it or maybe I watched it and forgot it…). Anyway what about the milk/dairy? Is that BAD for me….??? Giving up dairy sounds almost impossible!

    • Glad to hear it!

      Dairy is one of the more controversial topics in the primal/paleo community, actually. I (along with Cailyn/Alton) tend strongly toward dairy being primal and happy as long as you don’t experience any issues eating it (discomfort, gas, etc). Many people who have issues with dairy actually do great on raw (i.e. unpasteurized) dairy (due to the presence of enzymes like lactase and others that help with digestion).

      From a basic macronutrient perspective, dairy can be a perfect fit for a primal/paleo/low-carb lifestyle. And there are strong arguments to include dairy from evolutionary, micronutrient, and other angles as well. I consume lots of cream, cheese and butter, and will include things like yogurt and raw milk as well.

      The primal guidelines on dairy are: full-fat, organic, and grass-fed is best (and never with added sugars, like grocery store flavored yogurts). Unpasteurized (raw) is best as well. Cultured is great– think yogurt, sour cream, cultured butter, cheese (mmm, cheese). And things based more on cream than milk are even better too– half and half is better than whole milk, for example, because there is more fat, more fat-soluble vitamins, and less sugar. So butter and cream should be used liberally, with moderate or smaller amounts of the more sugar containing milk products.

      Also, it’s often misunderstood just how long dairy has been a part of the human food supply. Most anthropologists believe, at this point, that dairy predates agriculture by quite a bit. Humans started as hunter/gatherers (with an emphasis on the hunter, actually), and the ancestral cows (aurochs) and humans ended up domesticating each other to a large extent. Anyhow, it’s a fascinating and complicated subject.

      Like I said, it’s controversial. Dairy is (compared to meat) a newer addition to the human diet, but on the order of tens of thousands of years, rather than the far shorter time periods for grains, or crazy short for vegetable oils and soy products. Some people can’t handle dairy very well, but for others dairy is a great choice. If you can digest lactose, and choose the right dairy products, I say go for it.

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