Your Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser (Little, Brown and Co. Dec. 2013)
Chris Kresser is a functional medicine practitioner who calls himself a “healthy skeptic,” so this is not your typical book about the Paleo diet. Published a couple of weeks ago, Kresser confines his opinions to that which is supported by scientific research. For example, most Paleo diets avoid milk and other dairy products on the theory that our hunter/gatherer ancestors did not herd dairy animals. However, Kresser says that some people cannot digest milk while others can, so one needs to test for oneself whether or not to include it in one’s diet.
In the simplest form, he is advocating that one permanently avoid (or severely minimize) sugar, gluten and industrial seed oils (such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, peanut, cottonseed, canola, etc.)
This book has three sections. The first part “Reset Your Diet” describes a 30 day exclusionary diet to purge most inflammatory foods from one’s system. In this part of the book Kresser goes through various types of foods and how the body reacts to them.
In the second part, “Rebuild Your Life,” he describes how to slowly reintroduce different foods so as to determine one’s unique “personal Paleo code”. In this section he describes a number of other lifestyle choices that influence our overall health including: movement, sleep, stress, pleasurable activities, being in nature and playing.
The third part is called “Revive Your Health” is about customizing your nutrition to fit your body and lifestyle. It includes a chapter on different health challenges many of us face, such as diabetes, obesity, acne, or other immune or metabolic disorders, and describes the appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes that address these conditions. He also advocates for flexibility in implementing your decisions so that you are not feeling overly constrained and limited, and can thus sustain your healthy way of living.
The many claims he makes in the book are backed up by scientific studies listed in chapter notes on his website ChrisKresser.com. The website also gives links to his podcast Revolution Health Radio, which I have followed for over a year now and find very informative and practical. I frequently find myself referring other people to a recent podcast I’ve just heard. His opinions are worth considering by anyone who wants to make more conscious food choices.