That’s exactly what went through my head when I heard that Mark Sisson had a new book on the way.
In my opinion, the last thing the world needs right now is yet another Paleo book recommending that we eat real food and remove grains and dairy from our diets.
I think I’ve read that book about 15 times — with 15 different authors and titles — in the past year or so.
Besides, Mark did an outstanding job teaching us what to eat in The Primal Blueprint. What more could he have to offer in his latest opus The Primal Connection?
The answer is quite a bit. In fact, The Primal Connection has little, if anything, to do with diet. It’s about all of that other stuff.
That other stuff has become one of my favorite topics these days. Yes, we know that our dietary choices can have a dramatic impact on gene expression, switching the good (or bad) genes on or off. But it doesn’t end there.
Environmental factors — social interactions, sunlight exposure, our inner dialogue, and even laughter — can have just as profound an effect on our genes as what we stuff into our mouths. I’ll give you a few examples:
Did you know that laughter turns on the genes that fire up your immune system by increasing production of NK (natural killer) cells responsible for defending against cancers, infections, and other bugs?
I remember learning in my CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coaching course that the average person chuckles just once a day. A chuckle. That’s not even a full-blown laugh!
“99.99% of our genes were formed before the development of agriculture.” – Dr. S. Boyd Eaton, MD, Medical Anthropologist
It’s really that simple. There is zero human dietary requirement for grains. Most (if not all) people would be better off without them. It was their introduction into the human diet by way of the Agricultural Revolution that shifted us away from the healthful animal-based diet that we survived and thrived on for 99.99% of our history. With this change came reductions in stature and brain size, chronic degenerative diseases, and much longer work days. Many anthropologists agree that the advent of agriculture was one of the worst events in human history. Despite the evidence of such agriculturally-induced human decline, we continue to perpetuate this event with our USDA dietary recommendations and our errant fears of animal fats.
Let’s set aside the whole “are grains fit for human consumption?” debate and just focus on the nuts and bolts of what they do within the human body. First of all, grains are living organisms. And like all living organisms, they have defense mechanisms to discourage predators from eating them. One such mechanism is called phytic acid, which binds to the important minerals in the grain such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. So even though the label on the loaf of bread says that it is loaded with these minerals, you’re not really absorbing them. In addition, phytic acid can leach minerals from your body, causing mineral deficiencies. Not good.
You can eliminate or significantly reduce the phytic acid by way of soaking, sprouting, or fermenting the grain. This is cool and all, but it doesn’t take care of the fact that grains are 70-80% starch, which eventually converts to sugar and cranks up your blood glucose and insulin. Last night, I read in Primal Body-Primal Mind that one bagel or two slices of bread contain 5 times more sugar than your bloodstream requires. Any sugar that your bloodstream does not need gets stored away as either glycogen or fat. Imagine how much fat you store when you’re eating multiple servings of the stuff because the USDA told you to. You can’t burn fat when your pancreas is always cranking out insulin to counter your almost hourly grain binges!