The Diet to Live For is nothing new. In fact, it is really old. Its premise is to eat healthy, sustainable, humanely-raised foods. Stop eating junk food in the form of processed, refined flours and sugars, and instead focus on eating proteins and fats and vegetables, with a little fruit for sweetness. Dairy is allowed, as are some artificial sweeteners, like erythritol, xylitol, and stevia (the jury is still out on whether or not sucralose is OK – I still eat it to avoid sugar). It’s pretty much the paleo-style diet advocated by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., and others, except for the dairy and artificial sweeteners.
What I didn’t realize when I came up with the Diet to Live For is that someone had already created it. Mark Sisson, in his Primal Blueprint book and website, has been talking about this very same diet for years now. He breaks his simple-to-follow plan into 10 easy ‘laws’ (because, as he says, “Commandments was already taken”):
1. Eat lots of plants and animals
2. Avoid poisonous things
3. Move frequently at a slow pace
4. Lift heavy things
5. Sprint once in a while
6. Get adequate sleep
8. Get adequate sunlight
9. Avoid stupid mistakes
10. Use your brain
Such simple advice, and yet not very intuitive for those of us eating the standard American diet (SAD) of lots of carbohydrates in the form of refined wheat flour and sugar, and well as the preservatives inherent in packaged foods.
In order to be healthy, Sisson tells us to eat like Grok, our Paleolithic hunter/gatherer ancestor, instead. Grok didn’t have processed and refined foods to eat. He ate what he and his mate and children could gather (berries, nuts, leafy greens, some tubers) or hunt (insects, small animals, and occasionally larger game). They learned what foods were dangerous through trial and error, and stayed away from them. The Grok family followed Sisson’s laws 3, 4, and 5 in the process of following the food. They slept with the natural light and dark of nature, going to sleep shortly after sunset and waking with the sunrise. If they needed extra sleep, they took naps. Play was probably a natural part of their day, as it has been noted by studying modern hunter/gatherer groups that getting food and shelter took far less time than bringing home the bacon does today. They lived in nature, so obviously got plenty of sun for Vitamin D production. If they avoided stupid mistakes (like maybe falling off a cliff or being eaten by other predators) they lived long, productive lives. They also used their brains in figuring out how to get food.
Sisson tells us to follow Grok’s example and do these ten things regularly, and we can become healthy and slim. He urges his readers to follow the “80% rule,” which basically says strive to follow the Primal Blueprint at least 80% of the time, and health will be the result.
I believe that we can all heal ourselves through our diet. Sisson agrees, and says in the welcome section of the book, “My intention in this book is to show you the immense personal power you have to control your health and fitness destiny.” My dream is to help people realize this, as well, and Mark Sisson has made it all the easier for me. I can now point to his book as a health plan that anyone can follow.