Several years ago I skipped on my Sirius/XM Satellite Radio subscription and decided to start indulging in podcasts. I wanted something to keep me occupied while I was working out, which I couldn’t do with satellite radio anyway. I figured I could find some fitness or cooking podcast so searched the iTunes store for those. At the top of the list were all these Paleo podcasts, and at the top of that list was the Paleo Solution Podcast. Listening to the podcast taught me a lot about practical Paleo implementation but also how it has helped people overcome major illnesses. One of the more dramatic stories came from none other than the podcast host, Robb Wolf.
If you Google the word “paleo” one of the very first links you will come across in Robb Wolf’s website , or some media developed or generated by Robb Wolf. Robb is like many alternative diet adherents that had their lives transformed by a change in what they were eating. While Robb had always been health conscious he suffered from a lot of medical problems. In an attempt to fix all that he went on so far as to go on a strict vegan diet. Over the time of eating that diet his problems got worse, even leading to potentially having part of his colon removed. As a last resort he ditched the veganism and picked up paleoism. It turned out that Robb suffers from extreme Celiac disease and his diet was literally killing him. A diet full of healthy animal proteins and lots of vegetables on the other hand was just what worked with his system and he not only became an adherent but an advocate and media star of the community.
For various stylistic reasons I didn’t really cling to his podcast as much as some of the other ones. I therefore only listened to him for a few months. Recently I heard his name in a few other podcasts so decided to check it out again. The format is a little different but more importantly so is his diet. No, he is not an ex-paleo person. No, he isn’t eating radically different. However he is doing a lot of self experimentation with respect to the quantity and types of carbohydrates that he’s eating.
One of the things he always encouraged people to do in their podcasts, and something I use as the foundation of what I’m trying, is self-experimentation. You start with some established baseline and then dabble from there and see how you feel. Do you think that a certain food isn’t working with your system? Take it out and see what happens. You want to try to eat a certain food again, incorporate it and see what happens. This process of N=1 experimentation requires a lot of focus and attention on yourself. It also requires a lot of honesty and being willing to throw dogma out the window. This flies in the face of our tendency to want to label people as one thing or another. While society doesn’t have a name for a person that eats a paleo diet that also includes dairy or a vegan diet that might include occasional meats, if that is the diet that really works best for your body that’s the one you should be eating.
Robb’s self experimentation has been on a continual basis, and over that time he realized that the diet he had settled into had been way too low carb for what his body needed. Rather than saying, “This is what I’m supposed to be eating according to dogma so I’m just not being purist enough,” he actually went the other way and started experimenting with how to augment his diet. What he’s came up with was the introduction of more starches than he was previously consuming, and by extension a good deal more protein. The ability for him to do that speaks volumes in terms of his practicing what he preaches in terms of the need for everyone to experiment with themselves to find the ideal diet for their body, rather than waiting for some cookie cutter to fall out of the sky for them.