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~ ... the Achevore diet! aka Paleo 2.0 ~

Monday, March 12, 2012

One man's opinions on health, science, and the essentials of diet... by Kurt Harris MD

An Archevore is someone who eats based on essential principles, and also someone who hungers for essential principles. Take your pick.

Exploring these principles is one of my interests, but not the only one.

So you may find commentary here about other issues in medicine, health, other sciences, or just about anything.

Archevore is written, produced, and directed by me. I am an independent science writer with no outside sponsorship from any private firm, NGO or, Zeus forbid, government agency. Donations are greatly appreciated.

The Archevore Diet - A pastoral whole foods diet that can improve your health by more closely emulating the evolutionary metabolic milieu (EM2) and avoiding the hazards of industrial foodways.

This diet is a practical framework using whole foods easily available in the 21st century. It is designed to be as universal as possible. The average person who adopts it in preference to the standard American diet should be healthier in every respect, and will usually settle at a more optimal body composition spontaneously.

The diet minimizes putative neolithic agents of disease (NADs) and ensures adequate micro-nutrition.

The diet is designed to be healthy and sustainable as long as you are alive and to offer plenty of satisfaction, while minimizing food reward effects that lead to overeating.

Historically, many find this diet results in spontaneous reduction in caloric intake and in health-improving fat loss, with no measuring, weighing or special supplements. I eat this way myself, of course.

Although this diet is a framework designed to work well for as many people as possible who are starting with a western diet, it will not necessarily work well enough, or completely enough, for everyone who needs to lose fat or for anyone afflicted with any particular disease. For fat loss, more radical maneuvers might be necessary, depending on the etiology of your obesity.

This information is offered as a free piece of educational information to anyone who finds it useful and is not to be considered individualized dietary or medical advice.

Your health is your responsibility. If you have any doubts about the advisability of any dietary maneuver that might affect your health, consult a competent physician.

Go as far down the list as you can in whatever time frame you can manage. The further along the list you stop, the healthier you are likely to be. Earlier steps, in my clinical experience, will give more bang for the buck.


There is no counting, measuring, or weighing. Calories count, but why bother counting?

1. Get plenty of sleep and deal with any non- food addictions.

2. Eliminate sugar and all caloric drinks.

Drink water, tea or coffee. No sodas, sports drinks, juices, or milk. Don't add sugar to your food or eat things made with sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

3. Eliminate gluten grains and wheat flour.

No cake, cookies or pastries. No bread or pasta, whole grain or otherwise.

This rule and rule #2 pretty much eliminate anything that comes in a box.

WHITE RICE and whole meal corn products are reasonable sources of starch if tolerated, but not as nutritious as plant storage organs (root vegetables).

4. Eliminate seed oils - grain and seed derived oils (cooking oils) Eat or fry with with ghee, pastured butter, animal fats, or coconut oil. Avoid temperate plant oils like corn, soy, canola, flax, walnut, etc. Go easy on the nuts, especially soy and peanuts.

5. 2 or 3 meals a day is best. No snacking. You're not a herbivore. Whole foods prepared at home should be the rule. Low meal frequency is a powerful tool if you have weight to lose.

6. Whole foods from animals. Eat them for the protein, the micronutrients and the fuel.

Favor grass-fed ruminants like beef and lamb for your red meat. These meats have excellent n-6/n-3 ratios and their saturated and monounsaturated fats are a great fuel source. Wild game is good if you can process it yourself- but commercial venison and bison is too lean and is expensive.

Eat fish a few times a week and pastured eggs if you like them.

Eat offal for the vitamins and choline- some fresh beef liver 1-2 times a week is plenty. Mix it with your ground hamburger if you prefer. Pastured butter is good source of K2.

7. Choose fuels from the EM2. Both animal fats and starchy plant organs are time-tested fuel sources for humans.

Animal fats are an excellent dietary fuel and come with lots of fat soluble vitamins. It can work very well to simply replace your sugar and wheat calories with animal fats. If you are not diabetic and you prefer it, you can eat more starch and less animal fat. A low carb diet can rely more on ruminant fat and pastured butter.

Plant storage organs like potatoes and sweet potatoes are nutrient laden and well tolerated by most people. Bananas and plantains are convenient starchy fruits. The soluble fiber in all these starchy foods is very likely beneficial, unlike the insoluble fiber in bran.

If you are not diabetic, there is no reason whatsoever to avoid either animal fats or starches in whole food form.

8. Make sure you are Vitamin D replete. Get daily midday sun in season or consider supplementation if you never get outside.

9. Vegetables and fruits - Besides starchy plants for fuel and micronutrients, eat a variety of different colored plants of whatever you like and tolerate. Think hormesis. Some is better than none, but neither big salads nor fruit to excess will save your life. You're not a gorilla, you're an omnivore

10. Get proper exercise - both resistance and "aerobic" exercise have benefits, including mental. Think hormesis again- the recovery periods are where you get the benefit. Lift weights every day or run marathons for "fun", but not for your health.

11. You won't get too much fructose eating reasonable quantities of fruit, but don't make it your staple. Most modern fruits aren't really just bags of sugar. That was hyperbole, folks, a rhetorical technique. Bananas rich in starch and citrus fruits are preferred. Don't go nuts with watermelon and agave, which are nearly pure fructose. Beware stone fruits like peaches and apricots if you have IBS - the polyols are fermented in your colon.

*A diet based on beef and potatoes is healthier than one based on granny smiths or 30 bananas.

12. If you are allergic to milk protein or concerned about theoretical risks of casein, you can stick to butter and avoid milk, cream and soft cheeses. Aged cheeses 6 months and older may not have beta-casomorphin and are good sources of K2.

No counting, measuring or weighing is required, nor is it encouraged.

I am agnostic on macro-nutrient ratios outside of very broad parameters.

Archevore eaters typically range from:

- 5-35% carbohydrate
-10-30% protein
-50 to 80% fat (mostly from animals)
... but wider ranges are entirely possible if you are not dieting and you are meticulous about the quality of your animal food sources.

If you are trying to lose weight, really minimizing fructose and eating 50-70g a day of carbohydrate as starch is recommended. Skipping breakfast or at least no carbs for breakfast can be very helpful.

you are at your desired weight and healthy, 20% of calories as carbs is plenty for most very active people.

It is perfectly acceptable if you don't gain fat with it to eat more starch and less animal fat.

Note that the 19th century categories called "Fat" and "Carbohydrate" are each broad macro-nutrient categories that contain both good and bad.

Saturated and monounsaturated fat is generally good. A lot more than 4% of calories from PUFA (whether n-3 or n-6) is likely bad.

- For healthy non-diabetics, starch is good.
- Excess fructose (added sugar) may be bad.

In wheat, the carbohydrate starch is probably not the major problem. It is the gluten proteins and wheat germ agglutinin that come along with the starch that are suspect.

So forget "carbs vs fat".

It is neolithic agents of disease versus everything else. And consider that the way food is prepared and its cultural context (food reward) may itself prove to be a NAD.

Most Archevores only know macro-nutrient metrics in retrospect, as they don't target numbers just like wild humans didn't target numbers.

Your mileage may vary!

So eat what you want. This is simply free advice that has worked very well for me and at least hundreds of patients and readers. I'm not trying to save the world, as I find it generally does not want saving.

Note: The order of the steps is arrived at by balancing my best guess at the noxiousness of each neolithic agent or food with the prevalence of each agent in the north American diet and the effort/reward ratio of the step. If your culture has a different diet the order of the steps might change. For instance, Chinese who fry everything they eat in soybean oil and don't eat much wheat would move step three up to the step two position.

* If you prefer to suffer with a calculator and scale without trying this first, knock yourself out, but why not try it first? If it doesn't work, go to 70g of carbs a day and take out whatever foods you are "enjoying" the most. If that doesn't work, then you might indeed have to count calories. You might have lost the genetic lottery or it may just be too late.

Click the link below to access more information about this diet:


~ Dee emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you for being such a great source of information. I have learned so much from you!

    Maybe someday Heidi and I can come by for a play date even if it is virtual! emoticon
    2197 days ago
    Hi Char, I had heard about the study on the news the other day. This study was done last year. I don't eat red meat, but I do eat nitrite/nitrate free bacon. I agree with most of what he says and most of what the paleo/primal diet stands for, however, for all studies, health/fitness programs, one has to do what is best for them, and the author says,

    "This information is offered as a free piece of educational information to anyone who finds it useful and is not to be considered individualized dietary or medical advice.

    Your health is your responsibility. If you have any doubts about the advisability of any dietary maneuver that might affect your health, consult a competent physician."

    He mentions quite a few ways of how a person can add healthy fats to the diet, so it's not just limited to eating red meat or any animal protein.

    Regarding the when and how much to eat, well, that is an individual thing. I have tried the eat your breakfast every morning, eat 5 - 6 meals a day, etc., and it just didn't work for me. I have also been to a nutritionist and followed the program prescribed, based on the SAD, to the letter, and made no progress at all. So I had to think out of the box, and consider and accept that, the SAD that I had been following for years, is perhaps, "not working". With the help of my Spark friend, MELTNSUE, I decided to take the plunge and try the paleo/primal lifestyle, and discovered that this lifestyle encompasses far more than just how and what you should eat, it is a true lifestyle.

    The principles of the paleo/primal diet has helped me become more intuitive about my eating now, and I eat "only" when I am hungry, and that may not be in the morning. I feel great and I have energy, and if I feel weak or if my workouts suffer, my body will let me know and I will feed it according to "how I feel"... I was very skeptical about this type of program, i.e, the paleo/primal lifestyle, however, once I lost from 168 to 154 and my LDL level went from 127 to 117 was amazed and definitely on board for the long haul. I love it! I still have lots to learn and I am doing a hybrid of both programs.

    The paleo/primal lifestyle, is not for everybody that's for sure, but I can honestly say that for the first time in, I don't know how many years, I feel comfortable with this way of eating and the principles/science behind the paleo/primal lifestyle, and so does my doctor emoticon
    2199 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/15/2012 10:38:48 AM
    I can't do wild game or offal but the rest sounds okay.
    2199 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/13/2012 5:35:09 PM
    I guess the author of this study does not know about the new study publish today(please see Yahoo) which states that eating red meat is bad for you. Also heard it on the news this morning while getting dress. It states that eating red meat daily can up your mortality rate by 20%.

    There is a whole article on the dangers of consuming so much red meat.

    It gets to the point "What do you do and Which study is accurate?"

    Also I find it hard for "me" to consume just two to three meals a day. You are told to exercise and lift weights but if you want to lose weight to eat low calories and just two or three meals a day but by the way "skip breakfast" which is suppose to be the most important meal of the day, by "everyone".

    Interesting article and I guess great for those who may want to follow it.

    2199 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/13/2012 4:13:23 PM
    Great info. Thanks!
    2200 days ago
    Nice standards. I've been pretty much keeping to this, although not by intent.
    I find if I let my carbs slip up beyond 70-ish I'm stalled, tho. All the values seem in accordance with most of the low-carb/ancestral/primal diets, within reason.

    I do venture out with some starchy veggies, simply because I can't handle most of the cabbage family or "leafy greens" sorts, other than salads. I'm a fanatic for rice though, and feel like I'm "cheating" when I get into that. But I limit it because I see the values are way beyond what I'm willing to sacrifice otherwise to have it. I still do it occasionally in small amounts, nevertheless.

    But this is a nice approach. Thanks for posting!
    2200 days ago
    2200 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/12/2012 6:55:01 PM
  • ALLISON145
    See, on the longer term I like his approach better. Feels less demonizing of potatoes/rice/fruit. Once the 21 days is up, I'm with you - that stuff is coming back in moderation!
    2200 days ago
    OH thanks Dee....
    Well very very interesting stuff. I agree with this, not a lot diff than paleo/primal stuff. I have as you know had a hard time the past few days with debating if I need to figure the ratios and how much carbs and fat i am eating.
    He says no need to do any of this just eat properly. I think he hit the nail on the head where he said stop eating "things you are mostly enjoying! LOL and go to 70 carbs a day. "
    So this is what I had been thinking today before reading this, will log my food for while to watch my carb intake and see, cos sure it is too high and know I have been high in fat lately.
    put that page as a fav. cos want to re read adn check it out.
    Thanks so much!!! More food for thought LOL
    2200 days ago
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