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Hot off the presses, NeanderThin is now available in paperback

published by Saint Martins Press, New York, NY
ISBN 0-312-24338-3




Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I consult my physician before starting NeanderThin?
A: Yes, before embarking on any dietary program, you should consult your physician. It will not hurt to get a good summary of your current health status in order to chart any improvements.  As your body cannot require anything that, in nature, it cannot acquire, your doctor should have no problem with your adopting the NeanderThin program.

Q:  Don't the high levels of red meat and animal fat in the NeanderThin program lead to cardiovascular disease?
A: Approximately half the fat in red meat consists of stearic acid, a powerful antioxidant, which reduces your risk of both arteriosclerosis and cancer.  Remember that heart disease is an immune system problem caused by the ingestion of alien proteins, not saturated fat. High cholesterol is typically the body's response to high blood insulin and glucose levels resulting from a high-carbohydrate diet.  Practicing a low-carbohydrate diet, such as NeanderThin, has been shown to lower blood insulin and glucose levels resulting in improved blood cholesterol ratios (LDL/HDL and Total Cholesterol/HDL).
        The three most effective methods of elevating your blood cholesterol level are as follows (in order of decreasing risk):
1. Drinking coffee that has not been percolated or filtered through paper (see Urgert in bibliography);
2. Eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet (24 percent increase in LDL-cholesterol in 6 weeks; see Garg in bibliography);
3. Eating vegetable oils thickened by hydrogenation (trans-fatty acids; there is a much stronger correlation—two times greater—between high LDL levels and trans-fatty acids than between LDL and saturated fat; see Ascherio in bibliography).
        Obviously, excessive blood cholesterol is undesirable, and these three practices are highly inadvisable.
        Trying to reduce fat consumption while following the principles of the NeanderThin program will only reduce metabolism, produce fatigue, and slow weight loss.  As stated above, low-fat diets have been shown to dramatically increase LDL ("bad") cholesterol and lipid levels in some individuals (see Garg in bibliography). Remember that eating saturated fat from natural sources isn’t unsafe—it’s the body's defensive response to alien proteins in unnatural foods that leads to autoimmune disease (such as heart disease).
        Consider the following quote from a paper on vegetarianism written by researcher H. Leon Abrams:
"...[M]illions of Americans are convinced that by not eating meat, eggs, and dairy products and by consuming only plant fats (polyunsaturated fats) that they will greatly reduce their chances of suffering from heart disease that afflicts and kills a million or more Americans every year.  Scrutinization of the facts shows that they have been lulled in a false sense of security. They fail to know or understand the following facts that are never carried in [related] advertisements:
1. There is no positive or direct scientific proof that eating foods high in cholesterol raises serum cholesterol levels.
2. There is no positive or direct proof that high cholesterol levels result in heart disease.
3. There is no positive or direct proof that lowering cholesterol levels will reduce one's susceptibility to heart disease.
4. Consuming great quantities of polyunsaturated fats or oils may be detrimental to health.”

        In an article titled "The Three Weak Links in the Diet-Heart Disease Connection" published in Nutrition Today, Dr. Raymond Reiser (see bibliography) shows as erroneous the popular notion that high blood cholesterol levels are linked with a diet high in animal fat and cholesterol content. He shows the following:
1. Not all persons are equally at risk for coronary disease when consuming diets high in animal fat and cholesterol.
2. Risk for heart disease does not necessarily increase as serum cholesterol levels increase.
3. Blood cholesterol levels cannot be controlled by removing foods from the diet that are rich in animal fat and cholesterol.
        Finally, and perhaps most authoritatively, Dr. Michael De Bakey, the world-famous cardiac surgeon, has shown that only 30 to 40 percent of people with heart disease have elevated serum cholesterol levels. Dr. De Bakey found no definite connection between atherosclerotic disease and high blood cholesterol (see De Bakey and Abrams in bibliography).

Q:  I'm not overweight.  Why should I eat this way?
A:  Most people who adopt NeanderThin are not overweight (at least for very long).  Even a person of average weight will experience dramatic improvements in their overall health, energy level and fitness within a few weeks of adopting the NeanderThin program.
        Even if you are not presently overweight, your genetics may betray you 20 years from now.  By eating like a hunter-gatherer you greatly reduce your risk of succumbing to autoimmune disease (95 percent of Americans die of autoimmune-related diseases).
        You will not become too thin eating this way.  Once you have reached your optimal body composition, you will remain there as long as you follow the program.
        The NeanderThin view also provides environmental, spiritual, and political benefits for many.

Q:  To lose weight should I reduce my fat intake?
A:  No.  If you are trying to lose weight you are trying to metabolize your own body fats.  As your own fat is animal fat, it is important to trigger this metabolic process by ingesting animal fat.

Q:  As NeanderThin cuts out whole categories of food, should I take vitamin and mineral supplements?
A:  Vitamins are enzymes used by the body to metabolize food.  When you eat unnatural foods they are used up faster than the body can replace them.  This leads to vitamin deficiencies.  By avoiding the forbidden fruits and eating a wide variety of natural foods, the need for vitamin and mineral supplements is eliminated.

Q:  NeanderThin seems awfully strict.  Aren't there easier ways to lose weight?
A:  The only other way to lose weight involves caloric restriction and regular strenuous exercise.  Like NeanderThin, this regimen must be continued for a lifetime to keep the weight off.  The resulting hunger from starvation rations and the high risk of injury from strenuous exercise make this approach very difficult, if not impossible, for most who try it.  With NeanderThin the cravings for forbidden fruits diminish with time, but with caloric restriction you will always be hungry and will never be able to eat your fill. The optional NeanderFit exercise program is designed to develop muscle rather than burn calories. So it is not nearly as strenuous and time-consuming as programs focusing primarly on weight loss. Of course, by adding muscle you increase your metabolism and speed the process of losing undesired body fat. As NeanderFit is a moderate exercise program, you will avoid the risk of injury associated with more strenuous exercise programs that have made sports medicine the fastest growing medical specialty.

Q:  I find it difficult to stick to the NeanderThin diet 100 percent. Will a modified version of the plan work for me?
A:  The extent to which you can partake of the forbidden fruits can be determined only by experimenting with these foods after an extended period (several weeks at least) of being on the NeanderThin program exclusively. The least taboo of the forbidden foods include dairy products (such as butter, yogurt and cheese) and fruit-based alcohol (wine and champagne). While we highly recommend against the inclusion of any technology-dependent foods in your diet, as an individual you may find that including small amounts of dairy, fruit alcohol, and grains or grain-based products will produce no significant health problems. Low-carbohydrate diet programs recommended by several doctors—Atkins, Eades & Eades, Simopoulos, Stillman, Voegtlin, et al—present less strict approaches to low-carbohydrate dieting while adhering to the spirit of Paleolithic nutrition. If you find the NeanderThin program to be impractical in your circumstances, you might want to consider adopting one of these plans.
         Having stated the above, it is important to reiterate that the NeanderThin program is based on the authors’ research into the connection between autoimmune disease (including obesity) and agricultural foods. For those who adopt NeanderThin in hopes of alleviating the effects of autoimmune disorders, complete abstinence from the forbidden foods is highly recommended. It is impossible to determine the exact amount of alien protein exposure that any particular individual can sustain without contracting immune system problems. What one person can eat without negative results may cause severe symptoms in another even when eaten in small quantities. Regular consumption of technology-dependent foods the dietary equivalent of Russian roulette.
        Concerning practicality, the authors have followed NeanderThin for a combined total of 23 years (and over 100 years if you include Ray's six siblings). In our experience, strict adherence to NeanderThin is possible in almost any situation. There are plenty of acceptable food options available in most restaurants, and most restaurants will allow you to tailor menu items to fit dietary restrictions—after all, you're the customer, and they want your money. Also, there are many foods that you can carry conveniently when traveling (e.g., jerky, pemmican, nuts, trail mixes, fruit). With minimal creativity and dedication, almost anyone can eat this way for the rest of his lives.

Q:  My dog is overweight.  Will NeanderThin work for him?
A:  In nature, wolves and humans eat essentially the same foods.  In fact, some scientists postulate this as the reason for wolves becoming the first domesticated animals.  NeanderThin table scraps supplemented by raw meat (cheap cuts and organ meats) will provide the optimum diet for your dog and have him in good shape very soon. This diet is no more expensive than commercial dog foods.

Q:  Can I still drink alcohol?
A:  All alcohol (yeast urine) is forbidden fruit and should be avoided. If you must drink small amounts of wine are the least offensive choice within NeanderThin guidelines.

Q:  Is NeanderThin safe during pregnancy?
A:  As hunter-gatherers have the easiest births and the lowest incidence of birth defects, it is not only safe but is preferred. But before adopting any changes, you must consult your family physician. The pregnant woman craves added nutrients to nourish and sustain herself and her developing baby.  The mother's immune system is also working hard to protect mother and child, so care must be taken to avoid the forbidden foods while satisfying cravings by increasing dietary diversity. In this way the nausea common in pregnancy can be greatly reduced if not eliminated.

Q:  Since the inception of technology, hasn't the human body evolved to allow consumption of the forbidden foods?
A:  Humans have eaten technology-dependent foods for only 10,000 years or so. This amount of time equals approximately 300 generations. There are several breeds of chickens available with much longer pedigrees than humans. All of these breeds thrive on essentially the same blend of nutrients optimal for their jungle forebears.
        Even small evolutionary changes take hundreds of thousands of years (some scientists say millions of years) to occur. For humans to adapt to foods that are not edible to any other primate would involve vast changes in our immune system as expressed in our DNA.  For us to mutate to a form outside of the order Primata would be considered a huge evolutionary change.  We are essentially the same creatures we were tens of thousands of years before the Neolithic Revolution.

Q:  How long will it take me to lose weight following NeanderThin?
A:  It depends upon how overweight you are and how long it took you to become that way.  If you are very heavy, initial weight loss may be very dramatic (3 to 5 pounds per week).  As you approach your ideal weight, this loss will slow and the last 10 or 20 pounds may take much longer (2 to 3 years).  The process may be accelerated by lowering intake of high-carbohydrate foods (dried fruits, juices, nuts, etc.) and increasing moderate exercise (walking, golf, avoiding elevators, power parking, etc.).  Adding muscle mass to your body through strength training will also increase your metabolism and speed weight loss.

Q:  I'm an endurance athlete, and I usually load up on carbohydrates the day before an event. Since NeanderThin discourages high carbohydrate intake, will I be able to perform at my peak while on the diet?
A:  A recent study at the State University of New York at Buffalo debunks the theory behind "carbo-loading."  Researchers discovered that endurance athletes performed better when on a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet regimen than on their standard high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets.
        The study was performed in three stages, increasing the percentage of fat during the second two stages, the third stage diet being the highest in fat (45 percent).  Each stage lasted 4 weeks, allowing each athlete's body time to acclimate to the new percentage of fat in the diet. At the conclusion of each stage, each athlete performed a series of endurance tests. At the end of the 12-week test, the results indicated the following:
1. Overall endurance improved by 14 percent during the third stage diet composed of 45 percent fat.
2.  Fatigue related to exercise decreased the most when the athletes ate the third stage, highest-fat diet.
3. The athletes most efficiently used stored body fat for energy when on the fattiest diet and metabolized fat least efficiently on the first stage, low-fat diet.
4. After adopting the higher fat diets, the athlete's immune responses were heightened, resulting in increased white blood cell counts (immunological agents) and reduced counts of inflammatory agents.
        Most significantly, it was discovered that the body takes weeks to acclimate to a diet higher in fat content than previously consumed. Studies that don't allow for an acclimation period will provide skewed results. (See Raloff in bibliography.)

Q:  I love animals.  Can I practice NeanderThin as a vegetarian?
A: No.  Without red meat the human body lacks the enzymes to process iron. Iron deficiency may be responsible for the high incidence of retardation, birth defects, and weakened physical condition endemic in vegetarian societies.  Without the proteins contained in the forbidden foods (grains, beans, dairy products), severe protein deficiencies will occur which could be life threatening.
        As the principle cause of animal extinction and death is the plow and not the slaughterhouse, vegetarians actually kill more animals through starvation and habitat destruction than does the meat-eater through his dietary habits. All the plants and animals that once inhabited the cultivated land must be killed to provide space for vegetable crops. Plowing accomplishes this “ecocide” very efficiently, but plowing also causes topsoil to erode by exposing it to wind and rain. Erosion can cause even the most fertile fields to become barren, sometimes in less than 100 years of cultivation. Some lifeforms that inhibit good crop yields survive the onslaught of the plow. Such organisms (insects, weeds, etc.) must be fought using herbicides and insecticides. The more dependent a population is on vegetable crops, the more wild animal and plant habitats it must destroy to feed itself. Meat production is usually less damaging to plant and animal habitats—especially when the animals are range-fed. In fact, it is for this reason that the person wearing a fur coat has killed less than 10 percent of the animals killed by person wearing a cotton coat (cotton is one of the most ecologically damaging crops grown today, second only, perhaps, to rice.).  Perhaps the only species that are not endangered in our modern world are domestic animals.
 Any knowledgeable primatologist will tell you that there are no vegetarian primates. Remember that predation is a part of nature. Humans are designed by nature to be predators. A vegetarian diet is no more natural for a human than a diet of Cheerios would be for a lion. And humans kill animals much more quickly and compassionately than lions or any other predator. We have a responsibility to treat our domestic animals with compassion and respect. However, we cannot do this by removing ourselves from our rightful place in the planetary food chain.

Q:  Once I have reached my weight goal, can I return to normal foods?
A:  No.  Any weight lost will be regained even more quickly than it was originally lost.  It cannot be overemphasized that it is not the calories or fat content that produces the weight gain, as has been traditionally proposed; instead, it is the alien proteins present in the forbidden fruits that cause an overweight condition.

Q:  According to your theory, shouldn't I eat all my food raw?
A:  In a perfect world, yes. But modern farming and food processing techniques preclude this practice.  Meats, poultry, eggs, and seafood are prone to contamination by bacteria (salmonella, e. coli, etc.) and parasites (trichinosis, tapeworms, etc.) and should be cooked or dried at least enough to sterilize them.  When available, irradiated foods will eliminate this risk and make steak tartar and raw eggs much more possible.  Fruit and vegetables in the diet can compensate for the slight loss of vitamins and nutrients caused by light cooking, but these should be washed thoroughly to remove bacteria, germs, and pesticide residue.

Q:  Are prepackaged convenience foods (frozen, canned, microwavable, etc.) allowed in the NeanderThin program?
A:  Although not categorically eliminated, most prepackaged foods contain one or more of the forbidden foods and should be avoided.  On a case-by-case basis, this can only be determined by carefully reading labels.  Because of their low government subsidy costs, unnatural foods are often used as cheap fillers in a wide variety of products.  Often, soy is added to meat products, flavored corn syrup is substituted in fruit juices, and starch from corn is added to almost anything.
        Some prepackaged foods such as frozen fruit juices are lacking for what is not there.  Fruit juice from concentrate has had most of the fiber, protein, and vitamins removed, leaving only the sugar and should, therefore, not be seen as a substitute for real fruit juice or fresh fruit.

Q:  I have food allergies.  Will this diet work for me?
A:  As the most common food allergies are reactions to corn, wheat, and milk, the NeanderThin program should be excellent for individuals suffering from conditions caused by their consumption.  Less common are allergic reactions to seafood.  As these were among the last foodstuffs added to the human diet before the Neolithic Revolution, it is not surprising that some humans cannot tolerate seafood. Should you have these allergic reactions, you must continue to avoid seafood.
        Individuals who experience allergies to other foods such as eggs, certain nuts, and fruits should continue to avoid these foods.  Fear not, however, as, regardless of the severity of the food allergy, acceptable substitutes can always be found and the NeanderThin program continued.

Q:  Won't my friends think that I'm weird if I eat this way?
A:  At first, yes, as you are going against thousands of years of cultural programming; but as your condition improves, any disdain will be replaced by curiosity.  As your attitude becomes more positive, you will also become more prone to zealotry, which others may find obnoxious.  Try to avoid this by not criticizing everything they eat.  Instead, lead by example.

Q:  Isn't NeanderThin expensive?
A:  It may seem so at first.  For the price of a pound of meat, you can buy a bushel of government-subsidized wheat.  But by eating out less and avoiding unnecessary medical costs associated with the forbidden foods, the hunter-gatherer comes out ahead.  Remember that slim people often get more raises and make more money, and people with disabilities caused by immune system diseases often find it hard to make money at all.  There is no better investment than your own body.

Q:  Shouldn't I exercise more?
A:  Yes, but only in moderation.  Strenuous exercise has more risks than benefits and should be avoided.  The best exercise is walking, bearing in mind that it is the time spent and not the distance covered that counts. Any activity pursued with this rule of thumb in mind—such as walking your dog, bird watching, falconry, golf, etc.—is excellent. More intense forms of exercise should be added in moderation when fitness level has improved . As you lose weight, your joints will be stressed much less by sudden movements. As your muscle tone improves, the potential for muscle strain will also be reduced.
        Mental activity is also a form of exercise.  Try to use your increased energy to improve and not just entertain—i.e., distract—your mind. You will improve not only your physical health but may also improve your intellectual abilities and overall outlook on life.

Q:  Is NeanderThin good for children?
A: As many childhood conditions such as obesity, hyperactivity, ear infections, frequent colds, juvenile diabetes, juvenile epilepsy, rickets, myopia, etc. have been shown to be diet-related, the NeanderThin program is excellent for children.  For the same reasons, breast-feeding is also highly recommended. Again, consult your pediatrician before making any dietary changes or embarking on any new nutrition program.
        Children are often tempted by such goodies as milk and cookies served by well-meaning day care workers, teachers or friends' parents.  They must be educated from a very early age to avoid the forbidden foods..

Q:  Why have I not heard of this before?
A:  Quite simply, it is a matter of perspective.  As modern humans, we tend to view all things through the lens of civilization.  Our worldview is framed by a set of social and cultural parameters of which we are largely unaware and which distort our understanding of our biological and evolutionary origins.
        What we call civilization is a continuous process, the origins of which lie in agrarian agricultural intensification.  Cultures founded upon agrarian agricultural intensification began in several parts of the world, including the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, the Indus River Valley of India, the Yellow River Valley of China, the valley of Mexico and the high plateaus of Peru.
        Just as the Roman Empire was built for the production and distribution of bread and wine, so all civilizations promote activities that benefit the crop species that spawn them.  Anthropologists to often use the peculiarities of the life cycles of different crops to explain the differences found between cultures.
        Agricultural plant species promote themselves through custom, religion, politics, manners, morals, and ethics.  Since Gutenberg they have also used the mass media.  Indeed a large part of all advertising is paid for by the forbidden fruits.
          Just as the English House of Lords favored the large agrarian landholder, so the Great Compromise of 1787 insured that the U. S. Senate gives greater representation to farmers than to urban tenants and building owners.  This unequal balance of power only increases as the number of farmers becomes smaller in relationship to city populations (farmers presently make up approximately 1 percent of the U.S. population.
          Also, the government promotes a food pyramid, favoring the forbidden foods, which was brought about by the same sort of political forces that built the original pyramids.
        All of the aforementioned forces have served to overwhelm the quiet voice of NeanderThin Man, leaving his views underrepresented in ethnic and anthropological studies.  The chief reason, however, that you might not have heard of the Paleolithic diet before may simply be that in our modern, high-tech world, the simplest ideas and solutions often lie hidden in plain sight.
        It is only since civilization has begun to face worldwide ecological disaster, caused by agricultural intensification, that the hunter-gatherer viewpoint has come to light, finding its voice in both the Deep Ecology movement and the new science of Paleolithic nutrition.

Q:  Is NeanderThin good for the environment?
A:  Since ancient times, the most destructive factor in the degradation of the environment has been monoculture agriculture.  The production of wheat in ancient Sumeria transformed once-fertile plains into salt flats that remain sterile 5,000 years later.  As well as depleting both the soil and water sources, monoculture agriculture also produces environmental damage by altering the delicate balance of natural ecosystems.  World rice production in 1993, for instance, caused 155 million cases of malaria by providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes in the paddies.  Human contact with ducks in the same rice paddies resulted in 500 million cases of influenza during the same year.
        A frequently argued assertion is that our continued reliance on animal foods constitutes a highly inefficient use of scarce food resources. It is argued that domestic animals compete with humans for food, eating perhaps three times as much food as they provide for humans.  This argument is based on the fallacy that the land used to raise domestic animals could be turned to use in raising plants. In fact, only 35 percent of Earth's landmass can be used for food production. The remaining landmass consists of mountains, deserts, cities, snow, ice, marshes and other kinds of geographical features that render it useless for agricultural purposes.
        Of the 35 percent of the world's usable land, only one third is suitable for growing crops. This portion of the 35 percent is predicted to shrink as a result of global warming caused by the greenhouse effect and the erosion inherently caused by agrarian agricultural practices.
        The nature of the remaining two thirds of the usable land will only support the growth of plants that can be consumed by ruminant animals—not by humans. Only by raising domestic animals on this land can we derive any food value from the resources it offers. If we eliminated animal husbandry from our agricultural practices, two-thirds of the world's land currently used for agriculture would become useless. The result would be a net loss in overall food production. (source: Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University, web site at www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds)
         Many environmentalists now believe the only way to preserve the environment is to return to our natural place on the food chain. Over time nature produces more nutrients per acre than any method of agriculture.  Learning to intelligently harvest this natural bounty without destroying it is the biggest challenge facing modern man.

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   May 2000



Copyright 2004 Ray Audette & Paleolithic Press