I am a big fan of the Primal/Paleo eating style. I have been feeding my family whole, organic, seasonal vegetables, grass-fed, pastured animal protein and healthy, delicious fats for almost a year. It has been great. Processed food has become a thing of the past. Added sugar is rare and for the most part unnecessary. I have done extremely well eating this way. My husband and daughter have also done well but they still occasionally stuffer with minor digestive issues. This has forced me to wonder what I was missing. They were eating what I was eating. Why weren’t they feeling the way I was feeling? Strange. How could they not feel perfect eating nutritious whole foods. Hmmmm?

I have continued to read a lot about nutrition and health both in my masters class as well as during my “free” time. I lot of what I have been learning and reading is helping me realize that I am probably right. I am missing something and my daughter and husband could be doing better. The Primal/Paleo way of eating is the right way to eat. I strongly believe this. I also believe in Biochemical Individuality. We are all different. We look different on the outside and we process differently on the inside. The first step to whole body health and wellness is eating whole, organic foods. The second step is recognizing our differences and tweaking the foods we eat to meet our individual nutritional needs. This is big stuff. Very confusing and a bit challenging. I am just starting to grasp the idea. I love it and I know it is the next big step toward optimal health.

My masters program is all about biochemical individuality so that idea isn’t super new to me. The thing that is new and interesting (at least to me) is that a lot of the reading I’m doing in my “free” time supports the notion of biochemical individuality and even begins to explain how to determine a person’s individual nutritional needs. Cool stuff. I’m looking forward to really understanding this as I progress through my program.

The first book that got me started on the idea of tweaking a paleo diet for optimal health was the book the Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet & Shou-Ching Jaminet. The Jaminet’s believe that in order for a Paleo type diet to be healthy, safe starches like sweet potato and white rice needed to be included. They argue that the safe starches are necessary to avoid glucose deprivation. I like their science and have enjoyed adding some sweet potato and white rice back into our diet. The Jaminet’s also give a range for macronutrient ratios. This is one more step toward individualizing the diet. They recommend 50-150 grams or carbohydrates (in the form of safe starches – eat as many regular vegetables as you want do count them toward carbs) and 50 – 150 grams of protein per day. Both the carbs and protein work on a sort of sliding scale. An individuals combined protein and carb intake should not exceed 150 grams. This gives everyone the ability to adjust their macronutrients in a direction that works best for them, either toward more carbs or more protein. All and all I think this is a great starting place.

My research into meeting individual biochemical needs through a paelo diet led me to Dr. Mercola. Dr. Mercola is trained in both traditional and natural medicine. He has a great website, Mercola.com. One of the fun things you can do on Dr. Mercola’s website is take his Nutritional Typing test. It’s free. The test will reveal if you are a carb type, a protein type or a mixed type. The best part is, after you take the test you get two free downloads. One talks about Nutritional Typing and explains the different types. It also give you food charts for each type. The second download is a cookbook but it’s really more than a cookbook. The beginning of the book talks all about nutritional typing and why it’s so important. Interesting stuff.

Earlier today I listen to a webinar titled “Understanding Your Nutritional ID: One Man’s Food is Another’s Poison” with Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath. It was a great webinar. If you have time and the interest you should give it a listen. Dr. Depke gives a great list of books to read if you want to learn more about metabolic typing. After the webinar I headed over to Dr. Depke website: Depkewellness.com. He also has some fun on-line tests you can take. He and Dr. Mercola worked on Nutritional Typing together. Dr. Depke refers to it as Nutritional ID. His test comes in the form of an e-mail. It has about twice as many questions as Dr. Mercola’s. The interesting thing about Dr. Depke’s assessment is that it gives you a Nutritional ID number. This shows you where you fall in each of Dr. Mercola’s categories. For example in Dr. Mercola’s assessment I was a Mixed Type. In Dr. Depke’s assessment I was a Protein Type. Dr. Depke’s range for protein type was 9-23. I was a 10. His range for Mixed type was -8 to 8. This shows that I am at the low range of Protein Type, bordering on Mixed Type. I found that to be pretty accurate.

In a way, Dr. Mercola and Dr. Depke take the ideas of the Perfect Health Diet and expand on them. They help you identify where you fall on the Jaminet’s macronutrient sliding scale. They then go a step further and also identifiy the best foods for your individual needs in those macronutrient profiles. Pretty neat.

Chris Kresser, over at ChrisKresser.com, a blogger that I have followed for a while has just launched his version of an individual approach to a paelo diet. He is a big supporter of the paleo lifestyle and recently launched “The Personal Paleo Code: Not a Diet for Everyone, A Diet for You!” He is also a big fan of the Jaminet’s book and evidently another supporter of biochemical individuality. Interesting.

Biochemical Individuality, Nutritional Typing, Nutritional ID and Metabolic Type are themes that I will continue to discuss and evaluate. I do think it is what will make the difference between feeling good and feeling GREAT. I look forward to sharing what I learn.

Please leave a comment if you have had success with a paleo style diet. Let me know if you have had to make any adjustments in order to continue to progress toward optimal health.

Eat Well, Feel Good and Have Fun!

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