Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham. This book argues that the ease of digestion and the added nutritional value available in cooked food was the key behind the explosion of human intelligence. (Cooking gelatinizes starch, denatures protein, and softens all foods, permitting more complete digestion and energy extraction. As a result, the food processing apparatus shrinks, freeing energy to support a larger brain.) He then suggests that cooking led to what eventually became marriage and the sexual division of labor. The two most helpful reviews at Amazon get into great detail. The reviews average to 4+ stars.
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For immediate weight loss, Paleo is a great and healthy solution. But after carefully reading and considering, I’m unconvinced that Paleo is optimal for long-term health. I think, in fact, it might lead to heart disease and other ills associated with heavy meat consumption. Although many of Cordain’s theories fall apart long-term, I thoroughly enjoyed the read and highly recommend the book. You should read critically and decide for yourself.
I often get caught up in focusing on numbers and scales, so I decided not to officially weigh myself before or after Whole30. But I can attest that everything about my body just felt better. I know saying something like "I lost eleven pounds" would sound much more convincing, but I could see that my stomach was slimmer, as was my face (which is awkwardly the first place I gain weight).
A better idea is to reincorporate small amounts of non-Whole30 foods one at a time, waiting a few days before adding something else back in. For instance, after day 30, continue to follow the diet, but have yogurt for breakfast and add some cheese to your salad. Do this for a few days and see if any symptoms pop up. If they do, you know that dairy is problematic for you. Then, try the same thing with another food group, like gluten-free grains. Reintroducing gluten-free and gluten-containing grains separately can help you determine whether you have a gluten sensitivity.
NeanderThin: Eat Like a Caveman to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body (Hardcover) by Ray Audette, with Troy Gilchrist, was one of the early paleo diet authors. His home page NeanderThin [now restored from archive.org] has a diet based on the ideas of paleolithic nutrition. The diet can be followed as a low-carb, moderate or high carb diet, depending upon whether and how much fruit is used. You can read up through page 19 of the book at Google Books. The original press release from 1999. [The webmaster has an extra copy with the author's signature for sale. It has the original lime-purple cover. Pristine new condition. $60 (shipping included). Paypal only. Use e-mail link at page bottom.]
The Carnitine Miracle by Robert Crayhon, M.S. The nutrient carnitine is abundant in red meat. According to Crayhon carnitine helps balance blood lipids and blood sugar levels, maximizes energy levels, increases endurance, eliminates discomfort in ketosis, promotes burning of fat and building of muscle and increases overall well-being. See reviews at Amazon.
The biggest downside of this diet is how restrictive it is. A month is a pretty long stretch to make it without taking bite of quinoa, popping a chickpea, or sneaking a sip of wine (especially if you’re a busy, social person), and the protocol does not allow for even the smallest of slip-ups. From the manual: “One bite of pizza, one spoonful of ice cream, one lick of the spoon mixing the batter within the 30-day period and you’ve broken the “reset” button, requiring you to start over again on Day 1.” (Yikes!)
Optimal Diet is a dietary model of human nutrition devised and implemented by Dr. Jan Kwasniewski. Lots of fat and low in carbs. Lots and lots of articles collected from various places. He has an out-of-print book: Optimal Nutrition. The book is explained at the Australian Homo Optimus Association website. A thorough analysis is the first post here: Dr. Kwasniewski's Optimal Diet: Sanity, Clarity, Facts.
Origins and Evolution of Human Diet was an academic web site at the University of Arkansas devoted to discussion of evolution and the human diet. They had good articles on the conferences link. Here is one from the archives: Boyd Eaton's Evolution, Diet and Health which argues that current w-6 : w-3 imbalance together with absolute dietary DHA intake quite low in human evolutionary perspective may be relevant to the frequency of unipolar depression.
You’ll lose weight because any time you restrict entire food groups, your calorie intake tends to be lower, Sandon says. And whenever you burn more calories than you consume, you'll have weight loss, she says. (2) The focus on lean protein, fruits, and vegetables over calorie- and sodium-rich processed foods can also contribute to weight loss, though she also points out that the paleo diet wasn’t created to be a weight loss diet. (3)