You could call Mike Lecompte the ultimate hunter & gatherer. His philosophy, “If it swims, if it flies, if it runs, I eat it. If it comes out of a bag or a box I don’t touch it. If it grows out the ground, I scrutinize it.” As a hunter and fisherman all of his life, this was the ideal diet for him.
I started on the primal path almost three years ago when a close friend, Clint Bravo, who had cheated death recommended I read a book titled, “The Paleo Diet” by Loren Cordain. I say he cheated death because he was lucky, his doctors had found a 95% blockage in the artery of the heart known as the “widow maker” before it made a widow. At this
time I was in my late forties and had just watched people I knew about the same age as me and younger die of heart attacks or have close calls with death by heart attack. Having a family history of heart conditions and colon cancer, I made up my mind to get checked out at the age of 46. Colon was clean and that was good news but my blood work was not so good. My cholesterol levels were in the 260 range. My doctor promptly prescribed a statin drug and being from the school of conventional wisdom, complied. I was also instructed to cut back on the fats and go whole grain and dry skinless chicken breasts. Six months later the statins worked. My overall cholesterol was in the 160 range. During this time I noticed I was starting to gain weight. I am 5’6” and have always hovered around 165 to 170 pounds since high school graduation. Since taking the statins and eating the way I thought I should, I jumped to 185 pounds. Not a comfortable weight for a guy 5’6”. I couldn’t figure it out. I have always been active, from sprint triathlons to weight training to hiking, hunting, you name it, I tried it.
Fast forward a couple of years and I’m still at 185 and know something has to change. That is when my good friend recommended the Cordain book. I read it front to back in less than a week. After reading and re-reading some parts things started to make sense. The whole discussion on ancestral diets in the human species and insulin reaction in the body made incredible sense. I was impressed but not yet convinced so my buddy gave me some web sites to visit and do some more research. Next thing you know I am reading the “Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson. This one really struck a cord with me since Mark had also been a triathlete, although at a much higher level than me, and he incorporated not just a diet but an entire lifestyle which included different takes on exercise and fitness.
OK, now I am willing to give this a try. At first I told no one except my friend who started me on this path, not even my wife. After about 2 weeks I noticed a drop in the scale of about 8 pounds and an increase in strength in the weight room. It was about this time that my wife noticed I was not eating portions of the meals she made at night. I didn’t eat the pasta, the bread, the rice the red beans. Typically I would eat the meat, chicken, or fish and just have a salad with it. Also I was a big “snacker”, especially at night. Cheezits, chips, ice cream with chocolate syrup, all kinds of “goodies”. Now she noticed that that stuff in the pantry was going stale before it was empty and I was eating a lot more fruit and raw veggies instead. She asked what’s up and I told her. She asked is it working and I said yes, over eight pounds in less than 2 weeks gone.
To cut to the chase, I lost 25 pounds in about 6-7 weeks and felt better than ever. Lean, strong, fit and saw abs for the first time since high school. And it was all effortless and easy. Just eat real food. As Mark Sisson puts it, “eat lots of plants and animals”.
This is when I decided to conduct a little experiment. As I said earlier, I was on a statin drug for cholesterol. Taking one 40mg pill every day. I decided to cut it back to every other day for six months, as this is when I would go in for my blood work. After cutting back to every other day for six months and eating primal, my levels were still in the 160 range. Then I decided to go with every third day for six months. Same result. Next cycle, every fourth day, same results. I finally got to the point where I was taking the statin just once a week with the same blood work results. At the time of this writing, I have been completely off the statin script for about 6-7 months and will go in a couple of weeks for blood work. I predict no change and then I will tell Doctor Conventional Wisdom what I have been doing and tell him I don’t need another prescription.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this lifestyle, and that is what it is, a lifestyle, not a diet. Diet implies temporary, this is not. I am almost 3 years into it and love it.
While I know that natural grass fed meats and free range chicken and wild caught fish are optimal and the best sources of protein, they can be expensive. A lot of what you will find on the web and blogs promote these types of proteins and that is ok, like I said it’s optimal if you can do it. I am lucky, I have hunted and fished my entire life here in south Louisiana so I have great access to wild, natural meat, pork, waterfowl and fish. But do not let the expense of the natural proteins keep you from starting a primal/paleo lifestyle. You can still get your food from the grocery, just stay on the perimeters of the store and keep out of the middle aisles as much as possible. The outside is where the real food mostly lies, the veggies, the meats, and the eggs.
Don’t take my word for it, do the research, read the books, the blogs, the websites. Do the 30 day challenge, forego the grains and all the derivatives that come from them, pasta, flour, bagels, cookies. Stay away from sugar, corn, all legumes. Eat real food, leafy vegetables, colorful vegetables, meat, fish, chicken, pork, fowl. Start eating more fruit instead of the sugary snacks, you will be surprised as to how sweet fruit is when you are not eating processed sugar. I guarantee after 30 days you will be leaner, have more energy and feel better all around.
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