Archive for Lacto-Paleo

GOMAD for Strength

We covered GOMAD at some point in the past.  It stands for Gallon Of Milk A Day, and is recommended by some folks in the Mark Rippetoe “Starting Strength” camp as an effective way of fueling a strength training athlete looking to pack on muscle weight.

We just stumbled across this blog post from last year, where Sean from Calgary shares his experience with it.

The net result seems to have been an increase in muscle and strength at the expense of other GPP attributes.

It’s interesting to note that Sean didn’t CrossFit while on the GOMAD program.  We’d be interested to read about others who are experimenting with GOMAD plus CrossFit-style strenght and metcon work.

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Make Your Own Kefir

If you do dairy, you’ve got to try kefir.  In case you’re not already familiar with it, kefir [pronounced kef-EER] is a tasty and healthy cultured drink you can make yourself from raw milk.

To make your own, you’ll need some kefir grains.  These can be found online or from any friends you have who make their own kefir.  (This is because the grains reproduce and so by making kefir you end up making even more kefir grains!)  We found them available online at Amazon as well as at G.E.M. Cultures and there’s even a site called livekefirgrains.com!

We like to follow the basic plan laid out by Jessica Prentice in her enjoyable book Full Moon Feast:

Find a clean 16-ounce jar and place just under one tablespoon of kefir grains inside.  Then pour 12 ounces of raw milk over the grains and set the jar aside in a warm spot where it can culture for the next 24 hours or so.

The kefir will go through various stages and consistencies as it cultures.  We like ours (like Jessica) when it’s yogurtlike.  This is usually about 24 hours into the process.

When it’s ready, just strain the kefir into a bowl and remove the grains.  You can usually just take them and put them immediately to use again making kefir.  You can also harvest the extra grains produced, and rinse them so they’re available to use in other projects (like ale, beer, or mead) or to give as gifts to your friends who are ready to start their own culture!

Lacto-Paleo Revisited

Dear Dairy...

More and more often, we hear about folks including dairy back into their (otherwise strict) Paleo diet and pursuing the so-called “lacto-paleo” approach.

Last month Mark Sisson put together a great blog post on dairy and its place in what he calls a “primal” (or Paleo) eating plan. We definitely recommend taking a few minutes to check it out if you’re at all interested in Paleo nutrition.

As usual, Sisson provides a well-researched and thought-provoking analysis of the topic.  (For example, we had never heard of A2 versus A1 milk and found this piece quite educational.)

There is obviously no “right answer” to whether milk belongs in our diet or not, but it certainly merits careful thought and experimentation by anyone involved in a Paleo diet.

The Argument for Lacto-Paleo

As various Tribe members forage deeper into the woods of the 2010 pure paleo challenge, some interesting conversations have begun to arise in the forest.  One of the more interesting and contentious ones is around dairy and whether or not it should be allowed into the paleo diet.

Some key experts in the field, including Dr. Loren Cordain in his book The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat, are clear in their opinions that dairy in any form is definitely non-paleo and therefore strictly discouraged.

However, others believe that an appropriate amount of lacto belongs in the paleo.  Dr. Kurt Harris, for example, is a strong advocate for paleo nutrition who in his blog goes so far as to say: “I myself consume copious amounts of butter and cream, half and half and occasionally whole milk.”  So he is not only okay with dairy, he’s enthusiastic about it.  “But, no surprise,” he continues, “I consume zero gluten grains.”

For Harris this is in line with his concept of trying to replicate the metabolic conditions of paleo man but doing so in a realistic manner amid our modern environment.  He just makes sure to drink high quality dairy products like raw, whole milk and fresh cream, or pasture-fed butter.  Specifically, he avoids all forms of skim milk which are carb-rich and unhealthy.

Good dairy provides an incredibly rich source of nutrients such as Vitamin A, selenium, and conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) — not to mention the uber-substance known as X-factor, which can be found in wholly pasture-fed butter.

“I find much less scientific evidence indicting dairy than grains,” he writes.

“Dairy is not paleolithic historically, but as a relatively ubiquitous food class, definitely helps in achieving the EM2 – the evolutionary metabolic milieu of low insulin levels and minimal toxins from modern cereal grains.”

He concludes by reminding us that his “PaNu EM2 is not a diet composed of prehistoric food items, it is a metabolic state that we are trying to live in while eating foods that exist now.”

It is worth noting, too, that Dr. Weston Price in his classic early 20th-century study Nutrition and Physical Degeneration found ample evidence of modern hunter-gatherer tribes who relied extensively on dairy as a cornerstone of their diet.  This was clear among one of the first groups he studied, the remote Swiss villagers in the Loetschental Valley.  They were the absolute picture of health, with full sets of straight and healthy teeth and free of all degenerative diseases.  And they ate dairy til the cows came home!

There definitely seems to be something compelling about milk for us humans.  Maybe it is simply because, as Jessica Prentice points out in her fascinating and informative book Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection, “Milk is the original comfort food.”